Keeping Sabbath
August 1, 2019, 12:00 AM

I’ve been reading a book by a friend of mine that I found at Village Lights.  It’s called Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline, by Lauren Winner.  Lauren converted from Judaism, and remembers many of the rituals of Jewish life as formative of her life as a Christian as well. 

In the book of Exodus, God tells the people to remember the Sabbath, but in Deuteronomy, God says to observe the Sabbath.  Lauren writes that “one story the rabbis tell about the difference … has to do with ordering time.”  So on Sunday-Tuesday, one remembers the previous Sabbath, and on Wednesday-Friday one prepares for the next.  She says that we know from Paul, that observing Jewish customs and rituals is not required for salvation, but setting aside some particular time as holy/sacred when no work is to be done can still be a powerful spiritual discipline, because, as the rabbi Moishe Konigsberg says, “when we cease interfering in the world we are acknowledging that it is God’s world.”  (emphasis added)

For Christians, of course Sabbath is not just about rest, but also about Resurrection.  It is about renewal as well as refreshment.  It is about starting over, and not just taking a breather. It is about dying, and then rising to new life.  And it is, just as with Judaism, a time to acknowledge that it is God’s world, and our lives are God’s, and our choices are important, and our decisions matter, and our attention should be drawn to things eternal, to things outside ourselves, to God’s desires, to the needs of others, and to all the things that are not just about us/ourselves.

Sometimes it is a good thing to simply stop doing, and to focus on being