Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8
Recently I heard a joke about two men having a conversation. One man says, “My wife has a real problem with her memory.” The other man asks, “Oh is she forgetting things these days?” “No,” the man replies, “she remembers everything!"
I wish I had that problem. However, I am definitely more in the “forgetting things” camp. I open the refrigerator then wonder what I am looking for. In fact, I spend a lot of time standing in the middle of a room trying to remember what I was there for.
It is interesting that the fourth commandment of the top 10 begins with the word “remember.” There is no “you shall” or “you shall not” but “remember.” The word “remember” implies there is something we already know, but have forgotten. This is something worth remembering.
However, in our busy lives, in our worry, and in our working we forget. Only when we stop for a moment, like stopping in the middle of a room to recall why we are there, does it come back to us. What we remember when we keep holy Sabbath is good and it restores our soul.
Today there is a new four-letter word that nearly everyone uses. The word is BUSY. We wear our busyness like a badge of honor. And at the same time, we feel guilty and unproductive if we stop, even for a little while. Many of us are operating on “survival mode,” and all the while becoming more and more bereft of joy and delight. Could it be that we have forgotten the Sabbath? God simply says… “remember!”
The commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” The word “holy” is a word that means “set apart for sacred purposes.” Not only does the Bible give us permission to take time apart, it commands us to do so. We are commanded to stop and to remember.
Wayne Mueller, in his book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives says this: “Sabbath is more than the absence of work; it is not just a day off, when we catch up on television or errands. It is the presence of something that arises when we consecrate a period of time to listen to what is most deeply beautiful, nourishing, or true…Sabbath time can become our refuge…we disconnect from the frenzy…and consecrate our day as an offering…”
I remember when Sabbath was built into our culture. On Sunday my family went to church and came home to a wonderful lunch. Stores were not open, so the pace of Sunday was very different from other days. My family would often take walks in the woods on family land. Or with stores closed my brother and I could ride bikes all through our small town of Magnolia without fear of traffic. I remember when Sabbath was special and refreshing. I often miss those days.
Our days may be busy, but the commandment is the same…Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. The practice of Sabbath is a gracious gift from God for us to stop, even if for a moment. It is an opportunity to disconnect from the frenzy of life and remember that the Kingdom of God is within us, that Christ is with us always, and he has come to give us abundant life. May we all be intentional to remember the Sabbath, and in doing so God will restore our soul.
God of the Sabbath, thank you for this precious gift of time. Help us to take up the practice of Sabbath, that you may find our soul to be fertile ground into which you may sow your seeds of salvation. May our lives produce much fruit for your kingdom as we are found faithful in our rest.
In Christ we pray, Amen.
Let us do life together, growing closer to Jesus, and closer to each other, through stories and experiences from the people of our church. Join us as we begin a new series for the Advent season, beginning Tuesday, November 28.