The next spiritual discipline in our Lent series is Sabbath-keeping. I think I’ll focus on the basics: what is Sabbath and how do we keep it?
The biblical exhortation to keep the Sabbath mentions the fact that God ceased working after six days and rested on the seventh. Accordingly, on the most elementary level, Sabbath is the cessation of work.
Immediately the subject becomes more complicated. What is the cessation of work? This is easier to talk about in a physics sense, where the definition of work has to do with mechanics, and is measured in the out put of energy. (I think, someone correct me here.) Perhaps in former times, when work was mainly manual labor, it was easier to know when you were working and when you weren’t. If your work is to plow a field, it’s obvious to all exactly when you have stopped plowing.
But the kind of work we tend to do now has less shape to it. Our work is more insidious, and the expenditure of energy less easily monitored. This is precisely why it’s so important that we reclaim the idea of sabbath. As work mushrooms, and sends it’s tentacles into various parts of our lives (how do you like 2 different metaphors in one sentence?) it’s more important than ever that we stop and think about our relationship to our work and our need to keep the Sabbath.
Oh, and if it’s my job to think about Sabbath, have I just stepped into a Catch-22?