Sabbath and Catechisms
While the Heidelberg Catechism does not say all I might have wanted it to say about Sabbath, I must say I appreciate its tone when compared to the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Westminster in Q&A 60 focuses more on what we can’t do on the Sabbath while the Heidelberg focuses on what we gain. In this regard, Westminster articulates the Old Testament language of Sabbath with its focus on defining boundaries and sin, while the Heidelberg emphasizes the promise of Sabbath as fulfilled in Christ. Why worry about the things which plague us during the week, distract us, or lead us into sin when we get to gather with God’s people, hear the Word, and receive the sacraments? I especially love the latter part of Heidelberg Q&A 103: “Every day of my life I rest from my evil ways.” In Sabbath, we receive freedom because of Christ’s work. It then ends by saying, “So begin in this life the eternal Sabbath.” I do wish the catechism fleshed out this statement more. Sabbath is an image of our hope. One day, we shall forever rest from all evil and rest in the loving arms of Christ. Sabbath is a delight! The ways we have turned it into a drudgery is tragic. It forms in us the hope for the future culmination of Christ’s Kingdom and allows us to taste it here and now.