Do you ever have those times where you just know that God (the Universe, Fate, Karma) is trying to tell you something? Perhaps you wake up thinking about your Uncle Joe. And then you see a commercial about a guy named Joe. When you get to work someone in the break room asks you, “want some Joe?” You go to Yahoo and see a headline, “Where is Joe?” It starts to occur to you that you really need to call your Uncle Joe.
That’s been happening to me.
I can’t get away from “the Sabbath.” Everywhere I look, there it is. People send me articles about the Sabbath. My daily devotional is about taking Sabbath time. My youth group kids ask me about the Sabbath.
God is stalking me.
I have learned the hard way, over the years, that I need to pay attention when this happens. Things work out better if I listen to the still, small voice, rather than waiting for the brick over the head.
So I’ve been thinking and praying about what the Sabbath is supposed to look like. I found a great website that talks about how Orthodox Jews honor Shabbat. Here is a snippet:
The rabbis who wrote the Talmud established 39 categories of work that cannot be performed on the Sabbath according to the Hebrew Bible. These include cooking, washing clothes, constructing, repairing, writing, making a fire, cutting, fishing, and so on.
The Sabbath restrictions do not prohibit everything that takes effort. On the contrary, Jews are encouraged to play games, take a stroll, study the Torah, sing, attend lectures, or make love with their spouse on the Sabbath. It is work that is forbidden on the Sabbath – play is encouraged.
The idea of Shabbat comes from the Book of Exodus, chapter 34. This is where God gave Moses the 10 commandments. He tells Moses, “I made the earth in six days and then I rested. Likewise, you should work hard for six days and rest on the seventh.”
It’s a gift! God knew that our lives would be full of busy-ness. He wanted us to give us a break.
Now, being a bit of a hippie (in case you haven’t noticed), my mind wandered a bit further down the trail. Maybe it’s not just meant for US, as individuals. Here we are, hunting and gathering and tilling and buying and selling and wandering to and fro… maybe God wanted us to give the earth – all of creation – a regular period of rest.
That thought made me think about the upcoming Earth hour (read last year’s Earth Hour post here), which is coming up next Saturday, March 23 from 8:30-9:30. Earth hour is an annual event, where everyone is asked to turn off their lights and other electric devices in order to save a bit of energy and raise awareness about how MUCH we all consume. (Go to www.earthhour.org for details)
What if all 314 million Americans turned off their power and refrained from driving, not just for an hour, but for an entire day each week? The positive impact on our planet would be vast! (Or at least the negative ways we impact our planet would be vastly diminished.) I can’t even fathom the impact of a large portion of the other 7 billion people on the planet following suit! What if all those people “unplugged” and spent that day talking, laughing and playing with their loved ones? Whether you agree with my religion or not, surely you can see the value, to us as individuals AND to our lovely planet, in a time of sweet, beautiful, rest from the chaos of every day life.
I talked with Handsome Hippie Hubby about all this.
If I haven’t said it before, he is a kind, generous, gentle, infinitely patient guy. He has never once sighed or rolled his eyes or smacked his forehead when I’ve come to him saying, “So, I’ve been thinking…”
If you had any idea how often I say that you would have massive respect for HHH.
He agreed that he was willing to “honor the Sabbath” with me… sort of. We don’t have a day in which neither of us work and Sweet Hippie Daughter doesn’t have any lessons or such she needs to be at. The best we could do was Tuesday – starting after band class – until Wednesday morning. HHH was willing to give it a month and “see how it goes.” I lobbied for six weeks but got the raised eyebrow. OK. I know when to quit. One month it is.
So, starting tomorrow, we will be “off the grid” every Tuesday afternoon and evening. We will turn off the lights, the TV and the computers (this is a very big deal in a house where everyone old enough to read has their own blog) and the cell phones. We will park the car and put away the lawn mower and we will just… be. Maybe we will take a walk or play a game or read a book together or just sit around the table and tell silly jokes. We will rest.
I suspect it’s going to be a great experience. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What do you think? Would your family benefit from “a Sabbath rest?” Would the earth benefit? What do you think Shabbat should look like?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!