As I was preparing today for our day of rest, cleaning the rooms in our home, and preparing a space to enjoy a meal together, my thoughts kept circling the idea of creating order. My kids and I sorted toys, putting legos in the lego bin, trains in the train bin, action figures in their bin, (you know the drill). We swept up the debris, straightened the pillows, and arranged things neatly again. And as we completed a space, we would pause to look around at how tidy it looked. It was as though we were looking back on the order we had created, and saw that it was very good. (Sound familiar?)
I want to point out that the Ancient Hebrew word where we see “good” in the book of Genesis would more literally translate as “functional.” So when it says in Genesis 1:31 “And Elohim saw all that He had made, and see, it was very good,” that word should be replaced with “functional” – meaning that it worked. Day and night worked, separating the waters worked, creating man worked. To me, the word functional is a lot more meaningful than the word good here. Good means satisfactory or nice. Functional means
Since we are looking here in Genesis for a moment, Genesis 1:1 – the word “created” is better translated as “fattened”… There are some who believe that Elohim didn’t in fact “create” everything from nothing, but that He put order where there was only chaos. I don’t know, as I wasn’t present to witness the beginning of the universe as we know it, but I can say that if we are indeed created in His image, then yes, I am certainly capable of creating order from chaos too, as are my kids, and as are you.
The reason I am belaboring the translation of a few words is because they bring great meaning to the days of work (Sunday-Friday), and specifically to the day of preparation (Friday). You see, the sixth day, according to Genesis 1, is when Elohim created man and woman in His image, and gave us dominion over the plants and animals. In chapter 2 verse 19, it talks about man naming each of the animals – man had a big part in bringing order to the creation. How interesting….
All week long, we create, we build, we labor… and lets get real, things around here get a pretty chaotic. The laundry piles up, the toys get strewn about, the dishes sit in the sink, the floors get messy, toothpaste is all over the mirror in the bathroom, and there are shoes all over the place. But on Friday, we restore order, we tidy up, wipe things clean, throw away trash. And then we look back on all that we have done for the week, and see, it was very good (functional).
So while I’m relaxing and enjoying my day of rest, I am in awe and gratitude for the punctuation that is the Sabbath, and all that comes before that day. I can see visually in my environment that where there was disorganization and clutter, I have set apart time to organize, discard the debris, and make things fresh again. I also know that physically, my body is taking the same steps to prepare for a day of reflection and restoration.
These physical representations are a beautiful picture of exactly what the day of preparation prior to a Sabbath rest offers us spiritually: a chance to finish the work of our hands and take time to reflect on it, a chance to audit our hearts and discard the debris – a day to prepare to have our hearts made fresh again.