I got up this morning and decided to do something I hadn’t done in ages – a less hurried way of doing breakfast, starting my day in a more leisurely way after a busy week, allowing myself the luxury of a soft boiled egg done just the way I like it, and as an extra touch to make it more special, I used that pretty saucer that I don’t use day to day.
It was my Shabbat breakfast. A bit more leisurely, a bit nicer, a bit special.
And I’m conscious that I’m only able to do this because I’m not bound by all the rules of Orthodox Judaism, so when I call it my Shabbat breakfast it’s very much not a normal Shabbat breakfast… Because boiling an egg means lighting a fire. That’s pretty much Shabbat 101: no cooking! So for anyone bound by those rules, out go all the nicest breakfast things ever – like boiled eggs, or porridge, or pancakes, or bacon – – – oh wait…
I don’t want to speak lightly of the sacrifice of my Lord on the cross and seem to belittle it by suggesting he died so I could enjoy a boiled egg on Shabbat morning. He didn’t. He died a cruel death on the cross so that I could have my sins atoned for, so that I could be forgiven and not have to face hell and damnation, so that I could be adopted into God’s family and know his love, so that I could live a life free from slavery to sin, so that I could stand before a holy God on the day of judgement and know he regards me as not guilty because of the blood of Messiah. He died to usher in the New Covenant promised through Jeremiah the prophet, a covenant of grace, not based on me having to keep hundreds of rules.
So whilst he died for something much much much bigger than what I eat for breakfast, when I boil an egg on Shabbat morning or enjoy a bacon sandwich I am celebrating the freedom he gained for me.
As the apostle Paul said: “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor 10:31)
Of course I’ve been breaking more sabbath rules in the meantime – just sitting here and typing this stuff… not to mention taking a picture of my breakfast… I love the freedom I have to do the things that are restful or recharging for me, not being limited to only what the rabbis have okayed.
Though having said all this – I’m not knocking sabbath keeping if it’s something you personally find meaningful in your own walk with God. I’ve met Jewish followers of Jesus who do and if that’s how you choose to express your love for Messiah then why not! I haven’t torn Romans 14 out of my Bible – and sabbath keeping is one of the things Paul mentions there. As people who are under the New Covenant we’re free – free to eat bacon or not eat bacon, free to cook on Shabbat or not cook on Shabbat, free to blog on Shabbat as I’m doing right now or to switch off all your gadgets and go quiet for the day. Me, I started my day celebrating my freedom in Christ through my breakfast, carried on celebrating it by opening my laptop and sitting down to blog, and once in a while I celebrate it by eating bacon. Last Monday, being the first day of Hanukkah and a day when I’m in class, I bought jam doughnuts for everyone and we enjoyed them with our coffee – then at lunchtime I ate a BLT… which may seem like a weird combination, but for me each of those things was meaningful and each, in a different way, glorifying God: the doughnut for Hanukkah is, to me, a reminder of what God did for the Maccabees and a celebration of his almighty power and faithfulness – and the BLT is, to me, a reminder of the New Covenant which God had promised and then, since he is 100% faithful, brought into being through the sacrifice of his Son on the cross.
In all things, let God be thanked and praised. He is so gracious! so loving! so awesome! slow to anger, abounding in love. His mercies are new every morning – which brings me back to the joys of breakfast :)