Why We Should Still Keep the Sabbath (Mark Scarlata)

American Christians often make two key mistakes when approaching the idea of sabbath in the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament. First, we assume that the command has been made irrelevant by the New Covenant. Second, we “spiritualize” the idea of sabbath and downplay the importance of formative rituals for our bodies, not just our souls. However, a closer investigation of sabbath in Scripture reveals its importance, not only as a command of God but as a necessary counterweight to our digitally saturated and busy lives.

In this episode, Dr. Dru Johnson interviews Dr. Mark Scarlata about sabbath as a gift for all creation. Dr. Scarlata is a Tutor and Lecturer in Old Testament Studies at Saint Mellitus College in London, an Anglican priest, and the author of the recent book Sabbath Rest: The Beauty of God’s Rhythm for a Digital Age. They discuss rest as it is portrayed in Scripture, from Genesis’s creation narrative to God’s provision in Exodus. Dr. Scarlata explains how to celebrate the sabbath well, in a way that promotes community and present-ness. We can truly enjoy a break from work and participate in the great rest that God offers His people.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Supersessionism and the sabbath
  • 2:43 Sabbath in the Hebrew Bible
  • 8:34 A gift for all creation
  • 15:07 The weirdness of rest
  • 23:06 The importance of our bodies and rituals
  • 26:49 When we should celebrate the sabbath
  • 34:38 Resting successfully

Show notes by Micah Long.

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