In the book of Genesis we read that after the process of creation God took a Sabbath. He rested. And just to give you some background, that moment where God rested from his labor was a celebration. It was perfection, joy, true contentedness, rightness. The song of Creation was composed in six verses, then kissed with a chorus. Now you might expect that when the first humans later wrecked things through sin, the song would be irreparably broken. You would think that after all sorts of awfulness and evil, after humanity turned away from God; you would think after all of that there would be nothing left of that song with the beautiful chorus. But you would be wrong.
What God does in response to our frailty is keep that chorus firmly in the song of humanity. He institutes in the Law that after every six days, after every six verses of whatever; triumph and failure, loss, hardship, that the seventh verse would be that familiar chorus that says, you are loved, you are loved, you are loved. After every six spans of toil and wander, after every six questioning days of, what, agnosticism at best? After every six days of struggling through hope there is a seventh, a dawn of mercy called rest.
Your life and mine is full of success and failure, brokenness and healing, we are, all of us, full of life, all of it. And my God those six verses we write day to day are sometimes joyful but other times they are full of loss, the loss of friends who die, the loss of family members, the loss of relationships or marriages, or even, God help us, the loss of our will to live. And so much of that loss feels anonymous, grief just left out there unrecognized. Through the Sabbath God responds to our anonymous frailty every Sunday by deeply humanizing us, locating us in the story of his grace.
Our six verses as much as they are full of faith and prayer and hope, and love, they are also full of unfaith and unlove, they are full of our kind of humanity: good one day, not always the next. And yet. And yet that chorus comes back around and it tells us you I am the Lord your God, the God who loves you. Every seventh verse we are reminded that those other verses could not remove the chorus, could not keep it from happening. Even the darkest of verses, the ones that curse and kill and bury God's only Son, could not stop the chorus that rolled the stone away.
I am the Lord your God, the God who loves you. You are mine. You are loved, you are loved, you are loved.