Redeemer Presbyterian Church – East Side Update

When you think of rest, the image that comes to mind may involve sprawling out in Central Park with a book in hand under the warm summer sun. Or maybe it involves swaying in a hammock at the beach while sipping on your favorite cocktail. Unwinding and doing nothing are certainly important ways of understanding and practicing rest. 

Yet the image the Bible invokes when describing Sabbath rest is that of a slave resisting the oppression of a master. When God commands his people to observe Sabbath in Deuteronomy 5, he grounds it in the new reality that they are no longer slaves in Egypt. In Pharaoh’s system of oppression, there was no concept of rest. But God rescued them from slavery through the dramatic events of the exodus, and one of the key ways that they are to live in their newfound freedom is by practicing Sabbath rest. Rest is for the free. 

God knew that even though his people were technically freed from the economic and political oppression of Pharaoh, they were prone to be enslaved by other masters: the endless demands of work, the tyranny of the “urgent”, and the nagging sense that there is always more to do. To succumb to these demands would be to check themselves back into the very slavery that God had rescued them from. 

And so it is with us today. 

This is why we practice Sabbath rest. We refuse to be enslaved by our jobs, by other people’s expectations, or by our own perfectionistic standards. We say “no” to the persistent feeling that we have to do more to prove ourselves to the world. And we declare that in Christ we are no longer enslaved by these oppressive masters because of his emancipating work on the cross. 

I want to encourage you to take a next step in practicing rest and refusing to be mastered by another. Here are a couple ideas:

  • Read Sabbath as Resistance by Walter Brueggemann. Dr. Brueggemann expands on some of these ideas I’ve written about. It’ll completely change the way you think about Sabbath. All in under 90 pages. You can find it at our book table on the 3rd floor of the Hunter West building.
  • Check out this Sabbath worksheet to help you plan your Sabbath practices. It’s impossible to make progress without intentionality, and this worksheet can give your Sabbath rhythms a bit of a kick start. 

My prayer for you is that you’ll begin to experience the glorious freedom that Christ offers you through the practice of Sabbath rest. 

Mark Ro
East Side Pastoral Resident

Jenny Barker
Children's Ministry Administrative Coordinator

"Favorite movies? Jurassic Park and The Little Mermaid. Just give me dinosaurs and princesses!"

Jenny is our new Children's Ministry Administrative Coordinator. She provides administrative and communicative support for the children's ministry team. Jenny grew up in the south and moved to New York in 2016. Her passion has always been to be a part of a healthy church in a large metropolitan area. Jenny also works with the North American Mission Board to assist in church planting throughout the city. The first two years in the city she helped with a church plant in the West Village. This fall, she will begin working with a new church planting team, neighborhood TBD. She is also pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary online. She graduates in December of this year. Jenny enjoys being in community with her friends, painting, and exploring new restaurants around the city. Working on the east side with Redeemer has opened her eyes to an entirely new neighborhood to explore!

+ Sign up for the new Family Devotional, a resource for you and your kids (ages 4-7) to practice regular quiet times.

+ Learn more about leading or hosting a beta group at the info luncheon this Sunday after either service. RSVP to

+ Join the summer interns community group for six weeks of Bible study and mutual support in navigating work, faith and living in the city. 

+ Bike and fundraise for New Yorkers in need in HFNY's annual Charity Bike Ride on September 22.

Sort and pack donated materials with HFNY at World Vision in the Bronx on Saturday, August 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

+ Deliver meals to homebound UES neighbors with HFNY and Citymeals on Saturday, August 18 from 9:45 a.m. to 12 p.m.

+ Participate in the Diaconate's new divorce care group for women in any stage of divorce starting September 27.

+ Download the mobile app to access daily devotionals, listen to last Sunday's sermon, manage giving and more.