Most of us still regard the Ten Commandments as providing valuable instructions about how we are to relate to God and to one another. It’s pretty hard to argue with the prohibitions of not having other gods or idols or not making wrongful use of God’s name. And we have seem to have little problem with those prohibitions forbid committing murder, bearing false witness, stealing, committing adultery, or coveting. However, we’ve increasingly treated one of the commandments as irrelevant if not utterly impractical in our 24-7 economy.
Several years ago, Walter Brueggemann, probably the most widely-respected Old Testament scholar of our day, spoke these words in our sanctuary:
I have come to think that in our production consumption society that Sabbath is the most radical Commandment of God’s covenant, because it means to desist in our control and self-preoccupation to make a break in the rat race. And I find, for myself, as for other people when I talk about this, this is the Commandment that immediately evokes our most resistance.
Making a break from the rat race will not come easily. Perhaps we could all take an initial step toward this goal by committing to some form of Sabbath observance during Lent. For many, that will mean observing Sunday as a day of rest, while for others another day of the week would be more appropriate. There will also be a wide range of opinions as to specific practices for Sabbath observance, just as there is for our Jewish brothers and sisters. (Anyone up for giving up television and social media one day a week?) And more important than dwelling on what we might give up is
to contemplate what we might do with the holy time we create. Please plan on spending a few minutes after the first or second service on the first Sunday of Lent, March 5, in the church Library, meeting with others to discuss how we might support one another in a Lenten experiment in honoring the fourth commandment.
Blessings, Pastor Jeff