In these pandemic days, over the next few weeks I’m thinking about different aspects of sabbath rest. Find last week’s reflection by clicking here.
This week I’m drawing on Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann’s work. He describes sabbath keeping as “resistance and alternative.” He writes, “It is resistance because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by the production and consumption of commodity goods.” Which means that we neither live to work nor work to live. We aren’t defined by the jobs we have or the stuff we buy. Keeping the sabbath resists a narrow definition of the fullness of the Christian life.
Sabbath keeping is also an alternative. As Brueggemann writes, “The alternative on offer is the awareness and practice of the claim that we are situated on the receiving end of the gifts of God.” When we step out of the busyness and banality of everyday life, we can claim the gifts God has for us. The gifts of meaning, purpose, identity, rest, and renewal.
If how we spend the hours in our day leaves is empty and weary, sabbath keeping is an alternative way of living that can redeem the other days of the week.