As God has shown His kindness to us, one of the most important cultural developments in Moscow over the last several years is the growing observance of the Sabbath feast. The practice, as it has been developing in many homes, marks the Lord’s Day as beginning Saturday night at 6pm with the Sabbath dinner, or Sabbath feast. The best meal of the week, it is marked by joy, celebration, gathering, toasting, good wine, and wonderful food.
It would be hard to overestimate the impact this has had in the families that have begun to practice it. First, it reminds us that the Lord’s Day is not a fast day, but rather a feast day. Too often sabbatarians (Christians who believe the 4th commandment was not abrogated) have tended to be on the cranky end of the spectrum. We believe that this is one of the reasons why the obervance of the Lord’s Day has fallen into such disrepair, and we do not want to make the same mistake over again.
Second, this practice presents a direct challenge to one of the worst features of modernity, which is that of the fragmented family. We are making a deliberate point to sit down with one another, in the presence of God, in order to fellowship with one another. As we do this, we prepare for worship in the morning. And a wonderful way to prepare for the worship of the triune God is through cheese potatoes, glazed rolls, red wine, and roast beef — in short a weekly Thanksgiving dinner. We do not worship a crackers and water God.
Third, such celebrations point to the profound issue of sabbath authority. The meek inherit the earth, not the grabbers. The Lord prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies. He sets the table, and it is our responsibility to rest before Him, as He bestows His kindness. Our individual salvation is by grace, but so is the salvation of the world. So is the salvation of Moscow. But among other things, grace means that God bestows His kindness while we are asking someone to pass the gravy. We rest in the finished work of God in Christ. As we rest, really rest, we manifest our faith. And faith overcomes the world.