Living What We Believe
During this Lenten season I invite you again to set apart one day a week to stop your work and make time for rest and worship. Live what you believe by trusting God and his ability to care for you and the world without your help.
One of the worst problems for those who don’t observe the Sabbath day is that life can become so humdrum, every day the same—day after day! The pressure of work never lets up; there is always something more to do. This was my experience. Our culture’s great need to cease working is evidenced by the mass exit from the cities for the weekend—thousands of people are trying to “get away from it all.” Celebrating the Sabbath is different from running away. We do not merely leave the dimensions of work and responsibility that we have been talking about--we actually cease letting them have a hold on our lives.
Everything is turned around when we keep the Sabbath. If we don’t observe it, Sunday just leads us back into the humdrum of the regular workweek (which leaves a great number of people awfully depressed on Sunday evenings): On the on the other hand, keeping the Sabbath ushers us into the recognition that all days derive their meaning from the Sabbath. As the Hebrew scholar Abraham Heschel points out in his book The Sabbath,
To the biblical mind, labor is the means toward an end, and the Sabbath as a day of rest, as a day of abstaining from toil, is not for the purpose of recovering one’s lost strength and becoming fit for the forthcoming labor. The Sabbath is a day for the sake of life. Man is not a beast of burden, and the Sabbath is not for the purpose of enhancing the efficiency of his work. “Last in creation, first in intention,” the Sabbath is “the end of the creation of heaven and earth.