My favorite story about Sabbath I read in an airline magazine. Written by a Jewish woman with little or no ties to God and faith, she rambles on about how her life is coming apart. She rants about how she and her husband, for all their work and business, don’t seem to know each other anymore. And how with conflict and maybe even divorce staring them in the face, she stumbles upon that ancient practice so familiar to her ethnic heritage, the Jewish Sabbath.
The rest of the article is about how they begin to practice Sabbath—a commitment that is outlined in the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath involves kicking back, communing with your family, and not doing anything mundane or common for the rest of the week. Sabbath practice forces a calm day, a mini-vacation day, like a little respite in the middle of our rampant responsibilities. No matter what has to be done, when Friday night comes with the sun going down, well, everything gets thrown in the back room. Everything else is forgotten for a solid 24 hours.
Human Being, Not Human Doing
Did their marriage start to thrive? Yes. They were very happy in the end. Just as successful, but also very connected and emotionally strong. Toward the end of the article, she went on about how they always have Sabbath to fall back into now, no matter the week. That they know that despite schedule conflicts and all the crazy dynamics of two adults working full time, they will have each other all to themselves in less than seven days. Always.
Her story was very much a take on my experience. I felt like I had read about myself on that flight out East. Although for me it’s not just about saying no to all those annoying must-do-now lists. It’s not about being all day without the pressure of my job or the media. Nor is it about the random information dumped all over my life on a daily basis. It’s also about communing with God. It’s my day where I remember I’m human, a created being. Yes, a human being, not a human doing.
What’s funny though, is whenever I’m given a chance to share about Sabbath, most—especially Christians—get this squinty look on their faces. Then they ask why I’d be doing something Jewish, you know, instead of Christian… you know, like that is the Jewish Sabbath, hello. It’s amazing really. Any good Christian will tell you the Ten Commandments are front and central to guiding our lives. But right there in the middle is the one commandment that starts out REMEMBER. Yet it has somehow been relegated an ancient Jewish heirloom, like an old relic of times past.
That makes no sense to me. When I get that response, I like to remind whoever I’m talking with that Sabbath was given to the human race before anything happened. It was given to us before sin and then, a few centuries later, the Jewish nation. Sabbath was the first day of life for humans; this what the Bible teaches. God created us. Then he created a seventh day, and following six days of creating the natural world, He rested. He called the day Sabbath—a day to relax and be reminded of our origins as a race.
What a grand idea!
Clarissa Worley Sprout writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.