A Yearning for Eden

Yesterday and the day before, by mid-afternoon, a brilliant sun pierced the clouds that had hovered over our heads here in Georgia. Similarly, the sun broke through what might be my clouded thinking. I’d been thinking, and wrote, about renewal, a refreshing wind of the Spirit that blows upon us now and then. I’d not thought there was anything we could actually do to bring upon us this Spiritual Bliss. Yet maybe there is something that will contribute, be pleasing to G-d such that He brings us into His Rest, even if just for a sampling of the Rest we will enjoy with Him eternally.

It also occurred to me that there is a desire within us all to enter into this Rest with our Lord. I don’t suppose it is thought of like that to most people, though. This desire is a yearning that is born out of a tearing away within our souls, within the soul of humankind. It happened way back when. . .

. . .the LORD God sent [Adam] out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3:23,24

As a people, we’ve been trying somehow to regain the loss of Eden. When us older folks look back on the 1950s and say that those were simpler times, safer, filled with harmony, we are longing for Eden. Eden is Paradise. It is a place in which we put aside our daily lives of toll and receive for free the fruit of nature for which we don’t have to work. It is Rest for our lives.

This yearning for the Garden manifests itself in many ways. One of them is thrill-seeking adventures. Whether that takes us to the highest mountains or the most distant shores, makes no difference. It is yearning after some peace. It is an itch that we try to scratch through various ways, yet always it returns, unsatisfied.

Eden’s call prompts us to metaphorically clasp our hands to our ears. We drown of at least dull the sound with various addictions: alcohol, drugs, sex, even power and money, and more.

We see the yearning for Eden in the dreams of utopia. A place where people live in harmony with one another, a place of peace. We sse it in what once took place in America, a flight of city folk migrating into rural areas to get away from the hustle of a non-sensical (in my opionion) way of life with its constant demands and its constant hassles.

This yearning affects those of us that don’t acknowledge the Lord Y’shuaJesus just as it affects those who do. But we, as Believers, have been granted a time weekly in which we can participate in G-d’s Rest: The Sabbath.

In their booklet, The Sabbath: Entering God’s Rest, Barry & Steffi Rubin tell of us about the traditional practice of observing the Sabbath. No, not going to church on Sunday, but the real Sabbath, the G-d ordained Sabbath. The day the commemorates the Rest G-d observed after creating the world. It begins a sunset on Friday night and continues until sunset Saturday night.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 2:1-3

And the LORD said to Moses, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you.

Exodus 31:12-14

Okay. I can hear your objections. We are Christians. We come under the New Testament. This stuff is Old Testament Law. Y’shuaJesus said He came to fulfill that Law. Am I right? Of course. That’s what you think. Is that really what G-d thinks?


Throughout Israel, Y’shuaJesus called people to Follow Him. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath to pray and to teach. The Apostle Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, went on the Sabbath to the synagogue to pray and to teach. And got thrown out of a few, too. True, the vision of the Sabbath that the Pharisees held was not exactly the vision held by our Lord.

The Sabbath is a day we purpose to set aside. Not only do we put away our daily toll, but we complete our weekly work BEFORE the Sabbath. Begin by setting aside Sabbath to do good. Not Sunday, mind you. Set aside Friday night until Saturday night. Try it!

Do it! See if you can put aside the Sabbot from Friday night until Saturday night, dedicating it to the Lord. See whether or not you are blessed for it. I know you will be.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

Shabbat in Arcata

Opening the refrigerator door this morning, I immediately saw the plate of left-over enchilada. It would be good in an omelette, I thought. Just as quickly I imagined the Mexican omelets I occasionally ate at a restaurant in Arcata, California. This was in the late 1980s while I was a university student.

Sidebar: I know, being forty years old—then—was pretty old to be doing an undergraduate degree. So, okay, it took me twenty years to figure out what I wanted to actually study. I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up, but I am having too much fun being an elder child to start on it.

Arcata Plaza, Arcata, California
Arcata Plaza, Arcata, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, this restaurant had the best omelets, especially one served with chilies, eggs, flour tortillas, and refried beans. It was almost always crowded, too, and even the wait was enjoyable. Sadly, I don’t recall the name of the place. I’ve mentioned before the shear pleasure I get from some restaurants, of sitting with an open Bible eating a delicious omelette. But while living in Arcata, I practiced my own form of Shabbat Rest, which made the breakfast experience Divine. I would put aside studies and work from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, and I’d do something totally different. For me it wasn’t about giving something up, or doing something religious, it was about restoration.

The military calls it R&R. No, not rock and roll. Rest and Recuperation. It’s time away from duty. It’s free time in which the soldier may recover, to be better fit to serve in his or her regular duties.

Home Leave is what it’s called by the Department of State (DOS), which has Americans stationed in embassies and consulates throughout the world. Every two years, these “Foreign Service Officers” and DOS Staffers are provided with transport back to the United States. It serves a couple of interesting purposes. For one, it is the very needed rest and relaxation officers and staff require to ensure fitness. In some cases, they receive medical and dental care not available at their duty stations, too. The other reason is to re-enter the American lifestyle, to be home again.

If we think about being in this world, but not of it, then it makes sense for us, too, to have a type of home leave. We celebrate a Shabbus Rest with the Lord Y’shuaJesus, allowing the break in routine and the Holy Spirit to minister to our physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual selves.

While in Arcata, I used to run several miles each day. But on Saturday, my Sabbath, I ran a different route, often through the incredible redwood forest. I saw different sights, heard different sounds. It was a refreshing change from the flats toward the beach I usually ran. I also would read books. Not school books, but I’d read novels or some non-fiction. I’d occasionally operate my amateur radio, or take a long bicycle ride along the coast. And, yes, I had more time to spend delving into the Bible and studying it.

The idea of getting out of the routine isn’t new: it’s the reason people take holidays or vacations. For me, my shabbat in Arcata, during the two years I spent there, were times of Divine Refreshing, a day dedication to Lord Y’shuaJesus, and His restoration of me, and a form of obedience to the scripture in Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The writing above flowed out easily on Monday afternoon. But as I looked at the actual scripture, I hesitated. I thought perhaps I was unclear of the concept of stopping work. It seemed best to me to come back to it on Tuesday, pray about it for a bit beforehand. So now it is Friday, and I’m coming back to it. It’s been a hectic week!

The answer actual came on Tuesday. While listening to “Gospel” music on the way somewhere, a song on the radio came on that really touched me. Bill Winston’s “Released” spoke about coming to the Lord and being released from the work, the striving, of trying to gain a life. I felt myself justified by the work of Messiah, Who fulfilled the Law, and granted me the freedom to honor Him in my observance of the Sabbath.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .