It’s a commandment, not a suggestion.
Having no other gods, not taking the Lord’s name in vain, honouring our parents, not killing, not cheating on our spouses, not stealing, not lying… this is all serious stuff- none of these commandments are suggestions… and remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy is the third commandment.
How have we come to place in our culture that few seem to know what Sabbath is, let alone practise it?
I am grateful that I began to learn Sabbath lessons about twenty years ago- continuously unpacking the gifts of Sabbath keeps me from going off the rails spiritually and physically and emotionally…and I’m still feeling as though I’m just a beginner. I was a minister and a mom and a wife who had a hard time taking time off. I worked in a church culture where many of my colleagues were also not taking time off and it was a point of pride to talk about the crazy hours we were working and to compare how many weeks had gone by without having a day to rest…and none of us were calling one another out on this blasphemous practice—in the church- it was commonplace to break the third commandment- week in and week out.
I cannot remember specifically how I came to realize that ignoring the Sabbath commandment resulted in doing real harm to myself, my family and my church by never stopping, but I thank God that I did come to that realization. Sabbath rest grounds me. Sabbath rest reminds me that God is God …and I’m not. Sabbath rest reminds me to take delight in my Beloved, and in creation. Sabbath rest does what it is meant to do— it fills my spiritual well.
Sabbath practice is great for individuals, but it is meant to help build up the whole community of faith. Congregations that engage in Sabbath practices together become healty places. Sabbath for communities is all about worshipping together, eating together and taking delight in being in each other’s company. Let’s recommit to practising Sabbath- together and on our own.
Sabbath time can be a revolutionary challenge to the violence of overwork, mindless accumulation, and the endless multiplication of desires, responsibilities, and accomplishments. Sabbath is a way of being in time where we remember who we are, remember what we know, and taste the gifts of spirit and eternity. -Wayne Muller from Sabbath: Finding Rest Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives