Wheel in the Wheel GENESIS

The beginning of Genesis 2 shows God establishing the Sabbath (in Hebrew, “Shabbat,” whch means “rest”). One interpretation that I have seen here and there is the idea of an “intermission.” This piqued my curiosity, as I have been a director of stage plays for a good part of the last 20 years. And it sort of keeps with the theme we looked at yesterday about how stories are told.

If you have ever attended a play or musical, and even if you haven’t, you are probably familiar with the “intermission.” It’s the period of time between acts where the lights come up, the audience stands, stretches their legs, gets some refreshment…they take a break. Of course, the actors also spend the intermission resting between acts, although some will be involved in preparing for the next scene.

The intermission usually comes just as the story gets to one sort of climax, either with a mysterious cliff-hanger, a powerful muscial number, or some other action that sets up the rest of the play. It’s not the end of the action. It’s the time when the audience gets to reflect on what they’ve already seen in Act One, and to anticipate what is coming next.

One other note about the intermission: it’s usually a break that’s built in to the script by the creator of the piece. There is often some great dramatic tension that the playwright builds into the end of the act that he or she WANTS the audience to have some time to reflect on what’s past and to anticipate what’s to come.

In thinking in these terms, we can turn to the New Testament, when Jesus is speaking in Mark 2:27:

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

God did not need a nap after creating all things. He did not need a rest. But we do. The Sabbath is God’s “intermission,” a time when He says to us, “Take a little break. Think about what is past. What have you learned? Where do you think the story is going after this?” It is a time, set aside by the Creator, to reflect on the one hand, and to prepare on the other. And yes, it is also a┬átime for us to rest from the work we’ve done all week.

I don’t know about you, but it’s a whole lot easier to be at my best when I’ve had a time of rest. And it’s better when I’m able to sit and reflect on the things that God is doing in my life, in the lives of my family and friends, and even in the life of the world, so to speak.

And naps are good, too!