“Even the machines benefit from a day off,” a farmer told me at the first congregation I had served.

English: The Sabbath Rest
The Sabbath Rest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While sabbath keeping, stopping all unnecessary work for 24 hours, has a religious origin, do we benefit as a society from having a day when most people can enjoy a long dinner with friends and family?

Three or four times a day we walk our dog. Frequently we merely circle the block, but usually once day we walk a mile or two waving and pausing the chat with our neighbors on adjacent streets.  If we had a day when most people would be home, who would you get to know? How might his improve your security?

As a pastor, I get to spend significant time reading and reflecting about what I read. Studies show that people who read one or more book a month earn more and are better prepared when faced with stressful situations and keep their cognitive abilities longer. If you had a day to sit and read then talk with friends and neighbors about what you read, how might this enrich your life?

Such a day would need some prior planning: Gas stations, stores, and restaurants might be closed. Not due to secular law, but due to lack of customers; customers concerned about clerks enjoying a day with their friends and family. Such a day can only exist in the ideal for even Israel during their sojourn through the desert lacked faith to set aside their work for a day (c.f. Exodus 16).

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
— Exodus 20:8-11 (NRSV)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *