April 12, 2023
“…on the first day of the week…”
They went to Jesus’s tomb at first light on the first day of the week.
The seventh day, the last day of the week, is set aside for rest and worship. Keeping Sabbath means to honor God and to do no labor. The day that follows is the first day: Sunday.
In this story of the resurrection in Luke, we have another first, another beginning: a new day, a new week. The women who had been at the execution on Friday returned home that day, prepared the burial spices (Luke 23:56), and then rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment to refrain from work. They waited until the first light of the first day to go to the grave to care for the dead body of Jesus. It was early Sunday morning when they set out to do the work of caring for the dead.
What must it have been like to keep Sabbath that day amid their grief, fear, and sorrow? How was their faithfulness to the commandment a gift to them? A gift to God? As they held holy space and time in keeping Sabbath, as they refrained from interfering but rested, prayed, and honored God and the hallowed day, what did this provide them? What wisdom is found in this obedience and faithfulness, especially in the aftermath of violence, loss, grief, and despair?
The other wondering about the keeping of the last day holy – God’s Day of rest, on this particular Sabbath, God was working a new and remarkable yet-to-be-realized miracle. On God’s resting day, God was very busy working and ushering in resurrection.
So, as we pray with this second first in this story, think of the lasts and the firsts in your life. The ending needs to be held and honored so that the beginning can find its life. What does the first day of the week hold and mean for you in your spiritual life and path? How does keeping a sabbath rest before you begin a new week or new work let that beginning be more blessed and miraculous? How does holding holy space for God (resting/praying/directing your heart to the Source of Life), even when you are sad, anxious, unsure, lost, or afraid, reset your intention toward hope and the new day coming? Perhaps this might be a practice for you. There is a wisdom and holiness illustrated by this band of women who met the first day at first dawn after a day of obedience, chosen faithfulness, rest, and prayer.
Prayer: Gracious God, give me a deeper understanding of entering the last day with a heart and body at rest and peace, so that I can enter the first day with intention, hope, and readiness for your grace and gifts given. In the name of the Risen Christ, I pray. Amen. Alleluia.