We have witnessed a beautiful symmetry in the narrative we have been reading, with its creation of spaces first and then the creatures to inhabit them, and this verse rounds off that narrative, bringing creation to its completion. God now stops and rests.
And yet we know we do not live fully in Sabbath rest. Tragically, in the very next chapter of Genesis, we see humanity fall from our intended state of shalom to a place of discord and enmity on all levels: with God, with one another, and with the wider created order.
This is a world of wounds and it can be all too easy to bury our heads in the sand and refuse to engage in the issues we have touched on in this plan, particularly where they require us to make changes. But we know that, as followers of the risen Jesus, we are called to live lives that speak of his hope for creation. We do that symbolically as we meet each week to pray, worship and break bread together – the Sabbath now not held on the last day of the week, but on the first day of the new week, the resurrection day. And we do that by refusing to give up, remembering that no act of ours is in vain even if we can feel overwhelmed by the tragedies around us.
Prayer is where we start and what undergirds everything we do. We pray because we believe prayer works and because it changes things – ourselves included. As part of our prayer, we must then act. We must make bold changes in the way we live – consuming less and consuming better – and take action by pushing our governments and businesses to make bold changes too. Finally, one very tangible resurrection practice is to give. Giving connects us with people and places around the world as we use our money to bring relief and help change situations.
As we pray, act and give, Day Seven reminds us that we do so as part of a Sabbath rhythm. Yes, the problems are immense and there is much to be done, but our actions must be held within patterns of rest, stillness amidst activity.
Resurrection churches, resurrection lives. This is the calling that is on us as we look at all that God has made and say yes to life.
If you have enjoyed this plan and are interested in learning more, you can delve deeper into the issues brought up in the full book, Saying Yes to Life by Ruth Valerio <https://spck.org.uk/saying-yes-to-life> and find resources, more information and suggestions for action at www.spck.org.uk/saying-yes-resources.