Monday, August 12, 2019
Sabbath Time take Two
The Sabbath as a day of rest 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. Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel was a rabbi who lived in the 20th Century and wrote one of the classic books on Sabbath. In that book, he begins by talking about how Sabbath is a cathedral in time. We build all sorts of technological wonders in the world - rockets that can travel to the far side of the moon or instruments that help surgeons do a major operation with only a minimal incision. If you think about all the structures human hands hath made, there are many more than seven wonders in the world.
Yet, of all the modern marvels that have defied gravity and the ways we think the world works, humans relationship with time is one that seems stuck and stymied. Outside of wonderful fiction books, I still cannot travel back in time to warn my earlier self not to make that boneheaded mistake. I cannot rewind time for just one day to re-visit my kids' childhood. Time continues to move/march ever forward, always crafting and creating experiences and encounters for us to explore.
In fact, think about how frequently we grumble and gripe about time.
"I am sooooo busy," we say to anyone who will listen. Then, despite our present busyness conundrum, we proceed to offer the litany and list of everything that is making us so busy to the person we are talking to...let that moment of irony sink, settle, and speak to your life. I know it is true for me.
Or we talk about being inconvenienced by having to stop at a red light or getting stuck behind the person in the express lane who clearly has more than 10 items - because I think we all agree that fifteen containers of yogurt and twenty bottles of water are really more than "two" items.
We rush...we run...we race...all because we cannot control time. No matter how much we construct, time is outside of our ability to control. Time is a space in which we all dwell, but it is not built by human hands - no matter how much we try to control it.
What does all this perpetual motion do? Does it bring more life to us?
Sabbath has been an invitation into a holy rhythm of life. It isn't just to re-charge the old batteries or to fill up the tank to keep going. Sabbath is not a divine filling station! Sabbath is a reminder of who and whose you are. When we keep Sabbath we are reflecting the very image of God, who though creation was not fully finished, still found time to cease from the work.
Sabbath as a re-ordering of time.
I pray that definition will sit and simmer in your soul ~ offering you more than a trace of God's grace in these August days.