WS Update: Sabbath and Work

June 13, 2022

In a recent essay titled “When Your Job Fills In for Your Faith, That’s a Problem” the author, a sociologist of religion, shared how work has become a false idol, “with the office, not church, the place where many Americans now seek out meaning and purpose”. Her research describes how individuals increasingly describe their work as “spiritual journeys”and yet found that 

The gospel of work is thin gruel, an ethically empty solution to meet our essential need for belonging and meaning. And it is starving us as individuals and communities.

In a place like New York the temptation to idolize work is especially high, which is why the command to rest from work is such an important spiritual discipline. The biblical command roots sabbath rest in imitating God’s rest (Exodus 20:8-11) and remembering God’s grace (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). As Barbara Brown Taylor wrote:

Sabbath was the day when Israel celebrated its freedom from compulsion…(remembering) their worth lay not in their own productivity but in God’s love for them. 

In other words sabbath rest is more than just taking a day off, but includes an intentional remembering that our need for belonging and meaning is met by a God who sent his Son to die so that we might become his children. So on this Monday morning, no matter what your work status is, take time to reflect on the Scripture below and rest in the Father’s lavish love.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. – 1 John 3:1-3


Pastor Drew Field started a sabbatical today. At Redeemer, the pastoral staff can take a summer sabbatical after six years. Drew completed his sixth year at the start of June and so he will be out of town until in August. “I am thankful for the opportunity to rest, read, and be restored over the next eight weeks. This is only my second sabbatical in 27 years of ministry, so I am really looking forward to it, especially after the past two years helping the staff navigate the pandemic. Our team is great and the directors will be filling in on anything that needs to happen during the summer.”  

Redeemer Counseling Services

Redeemer West Side is honored to support individuals in their healing journey. Redeemer Counseling Services (RCS) is now a financially independent ministry, learning to be self-sustaining on their own. You can support Redeemer Counseling by giving to Sponsor Clients like Kara, who shared her story of healing with us during yesterday’s service. 

$30 helps offset the costs of one session but any amount is appreciated and RCS welcomes monthly gifts, if you want to continue supporting clients over time. 

Coming up

  • Memorial Service: Irene Zelnick, long-time Redeemer congregant, June 15: A Memorial Service for Irene Zelnick, a long-time Redeemer member and UWS resident, will be held this week at W83.  Irene was an attorney who drafted, negotiated and passionately stewarded contracts and agreements for Redeemer and many other ministries for years, efforts that continue to bear fruit in the present. Given her prominence as part of our history we wanted to let you know of this opportunity to celebrate her life.
  • Tangled in Color | Art Exhibit, June 17: “Tangled in Color” features works by ArTech Collective artists, this collection of drawings, embroidery and weavings will awaken your senses, evoke emotion, and help you escape the everyday. Through the artistic practice and the created pieces, the artists hope to share a fragment of their creative world as they tangle you up in this colorful journey.
  • APEST Spiritual Gifts Seminar, June 28: APEST is a spiritual gift framework from Ephesians 4. Paul says Jesus has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers—hence the acronym APEST. After registering, you’ll be given instructions on how to take the brief online assessment.
  • Join the Gospel & Race Cohort, registration ends June 30: The Gospel & Race Cohort is an intentionally multiracial and multicultural community of 8-12 people that explores issues of culture and race through a biblical and gospel lens. Our time together will be a journey of learning more about ourselves, growing personally and spiritually, building cross-cultural community and friendships, expanding the way we see and move through the world, and becoming better equipped to work for gospel reconciliation and justice.
  • Vacation Bible School, July 11: We are excited to offer Vacation Bible School in person again and we need your help. Happening from July 11 to 15, our children will learn about God and his love for them through skits, Bible lessons, music, games and crafts. We need volunteers to help make every aspect of this “Monumental” week happen, so please sign up. If you can’t serve during the week, you can help us set up on the Sunday before. Registration ends on June 15.
  • Summer volunteers needed: Will you be in NYC this summer? Whether you’re here on a summer internship or have been wanting to see what volunteering might look like, help our vacationing volunteers by joining a team, once a month, meet great people and help to serve your neighbors!
  • Be a virtual volunteer this summer: Not comfortable serving in person? Pursue a meaningful activity this summer by either mentoring youth, translating documents, teaching virtually, or praying with marginalized neighbors. Find an opportunity today!
  • Volunteer photographer needed at Avail: If you love capturing special moments, help Avail take photos (pregnancy, new baby, family) as keepsakes for their client parents. Photo sessions will be held either at the midtown office or at Bryant Park.