Last weekend I had the privilege and pleasure of attending Hutchmoot 2012. Putting the experience into words is no small feat, and any attempt on my part to do so would result in certain failure. The previous two Hutchmoots were wonderful in their own right, but I cannot remember being as utterly exhausted in the past as I was this year. (Based on Facebook posts, I wasn’t the only one dragging on Monday, taking catnaps, or falling asleep early that night). A sick two-year old and an eight-month old may have been contributing factors to being more tired going into Hutchmoot this year, but there is also a weariness that can come from trying to soak in so much truth, beauty, and goodness.
The sessions were rich, and though I wished I could have attended others (where’s a time-turner when you need one?), I am not sure how I could have absorbed much more. Having concerts three nights in a row was amazing, and Evie’s cooking was a partaking of her love and God’s love as manifest in the harvest of the earth and the fruit of the vine. But even more, the stories that I heard from fellow brothers and sisters amidst the fellowship shared around tables was, perhaps, the most encouraging aspect of the weekend. I heard of brothers doing a marvelous work for the poor in Modesto, CA. I heard of families seeking to be faithful in the churches where God has placed them, and their desire for their children to grow in their love and knowledge of the Savior. What I heard was testimony after testimony of believers endeavoring to be faithful to Jesus their king. And when I stepped back and thought about how spread out we Hutchmooters are, and how new or small our endeavors may appear to be, I could only be encouraged and conclude: “Aslan is on the move.”
I am teaching a Bible class at The Classical Academy in Franklin, and we are presently engaged in a study of Genesis. The students are keeping reading journals to coincide with their studies, and I encouraged them to look for repetitions of words or phrases; rhythms in the text, or changes in rhythm to the text. A common refrain over the first six days of creation as recorded in Genesis 1 is, “And there was evening and there was morning….” While we typically think of a day as moving from morning to evening, the biblical text (and Hebrew mind) reverses it. This order of evening to morning pictures the movement from darkness to light. This is hardly accidental, signifying the movement from Old Creation to New Creation. Israel was governed by a lunar calendar, which symbolically means the Old Covenant took place “at night.” Since Christ has come, that has changed. Paul mentions in Colossians 2:16-17: Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Jesus is the “light of the world” (Jn. 1:4-5, 9; 8:12); the bright morning star (Rev. 22:16);the sun of righteousness (Mal. 4:2), and was resurrected at the dawning of the day. We have moved from darkness to light. Paul exhorts the Thessalonian church, For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation (1 Thess. 5:5-8). As Christians living in the New Covenant we live in “the day.”
Now, back to my original point to my students about refrains and rhythms in the text. When we come to the seventh day of creation, notice what is said and what is not said: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation (Gen. 2:1-3). What is missing in this recounting of the seventh day? The refrain of the previous six days, “And there was evening and there was morning….” There is no mention of evening or darkness. In other words, the seventh day, the Sabbath, is perpetually day. This points forward to the reality that has dawned in Christ, and to the future reality of the fullness of the New Heavens and the New Earth. The writer to the Hebrews instructs, “there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (4:9). This Sabbath is the Eternal Day when the glory of God and the Lamb are the source of light, and there will be no night (Rev. 21:23,25). It is when we will see His face, and night will be no more, and and we will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be our light, and we will reign forever and ever (Rev. 22:4-5). In that Day our work will be finished, the fullness of communion with our God and Savior will be realized, and we will enter into the royal rest with our King.