Dear Friends in Christ~
I saw an interesting meme the other day. It was about a pastor who was telling someone that he never took a day off because Satan never did. The other person told the preacher that maybe he should find another role model. Amen! What was it the fourth commandment told us?
Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work…you, your son or your daughter…For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.
Hugo Rahner wrote about how some were scandalized to find the Apostle John playing with his followers. John told one of them, who was carrying a bow, to draw an arrow: he did this several times and John then asked whether he could keep on doing it without interruption; the reply was that the bow would break in the end. John therefore argued that the human mind would also break if the tension were never relaxed.
So true! Sabbath rest defies what the work-world tells us, that we must work longer and harder in order to get ahead. In the book Sabbath Time, Tilden Edwards highlights four reasons for Sabbath beyond the fourth commandment.
- Tapping into our Jewish roots. One aspect of practicing Sabbath that those of Jewish heritage experience is the importance of conscious withdrawal from the work world for a significant amount of time. Not only to withdraw from it, but to have ritual during the Sabbath.
- The Puritans practice of Sabbath consists of worship, personal prayer, scripture reading and reflection….”the day needs to be free from any compulsion (or “shoulds”)”
- The Hebrew word for Sabbath means “to catch one’s breath”. Sabbath is a time to breathe in order to recharge. There are many contemplative practices that we Christians participate in that lends itself well to Sabbath.
- And then there’s holy play. Having a good laugh is so very healthy. Samuel Avital points out “when you laugh, the whole system vibrates, a dancing diaphragm, dancing cells. All the cells are happy and when you are happy you have a longer life. If you don’t furnish your cells with this vibration or dancing, which we intellectually call “laughing,” you are robbing them of life…so laugh!”
As we journey into summer, please take time for Sabbath. Make a conscious break from work…yes, even though you may be “retired” you still work. Shrug off those “shoulds” and focus on personal worship. Remember to catch your breath and breathe. By all means, participate in play! Laugh, dance, move your body, experience sheer joy…
When you’re in town, I shall see you in worship!