The following is excerpted from the larger weekly “Heretic’s Guide to the Bible” lectionary study. To read more, or to find out about how to subscribe, CLCIK HERE or on the banners above or below in this post.
There’s rich irony in me writing about Sabbath. I’m one of the most notorious violators of days of rest that I know. Technically, I have one “day off” a week. But of course, I am writing this lectionary study on a Monday! So yes, I am as much of a hypocrite as the rabbis trying to corner Jesus for doing good work on the Jewish day of rest.
Of course, God never intended for an invitation to Sabbath to be a means by which people would be controlled, manipulated or even punished by those in power. God knew – and God knows – that we can always find more to do. And sometimes we find it much easier to occupy ourselves with work in parentheses or any host of other activities, for that matter) rather than slowing down and spending intentional time with the still, small voice within us.
That’s the thing about God, at least these days. I don’t know about you but I have seen no pillars of fire, no burning bushes, no fat little naked kids with wings telling me things that are magically going to happen in my life. That’s not how God works with me. In fact, God never insists God’s self on me. I consider it more of a standing invitation, an open call back to the wellspring, as it were. But God is not in the business of pinning me down and force-feeding me the waters of renewal.
I often employ the phrase, only half jokingly, “there is no rest for the wicked.” But honestly, when I think about the message and the values of the culture around me, and when I think of the insistent voices in my head, always telling me to do more and be more, it is a corrupted, distorted notion of what it means to live well. And if, in fact, a life of balance, hard work and occasional renewal is ordained by God, then I (and I will go out on a limb and guess that most of you) and living counter to God’s intentions for me.
Why should you listen to a hypocrite like me, writing about Sabbath on his day off? You probably shouldn’t. But like the prophet Jeremiah, sometimes God places words of wisdom in the mouths of fools. Busy, distracted, overworked fools.