“Sabbath is subversive – its sabotages a world obsessed with activity. Keeping the Sabbath detoxifies us from the false Belief that our value is defined by what we do or what we produce”
This is a quote from Paul Valler who recently wrote a brilliant article for the January edition of Christianity magazine titled ‘ Finding the Sabbath in a non stop world‘. The article is brilliant as it is not only really well written but also really timely and relevant. Although leisure and pleasure are seemingly increasing features in our consumer society its odd as its also seems that work, productivity and the expectations around it are also massively on the rise.
In the article he states that “Jesus famously refuted the Sabbath legalism of the Pharisees (Mark 2:27). Jesus shows us that the Sabbath is about human flourishing and about grace, not about keeping rules. We don’t need Sabbath rules. What we urgently need to rediscover is the Sabbath Rationale”
This is key as we certainly don’t want or need any more legalism and rules in our lives, but a principle, a rhythm, a way of being that allows for rest, recreation and restoration is vital and the Sabbath principle seems like a very wise and biblical approach to life that is vital. Yet it can be so hard! Often I am far more restless than rested. Now its true that out of restlessness and striving/frustration can come some great work, productivity, activism, protest and creativity, so being ‘restless’ in one sense is a good thing, but being without rest, literally, is something that can’t be sustained in the long term, which is why Rest and Sabbath are key to a truly productive, full and creative life lived well and to give full glory to God.
I was recently reminded of a very helpful talk I heard last year at Tearfund’s annual staff conference on REST – Reflect, Enjoy, Serve, Trust. Reflect: Take Divine Pauses, Enjoy: Celebrate Success, Serve: People not Projects and Trust God for Transformation (Psalm 33).
Activism and Action is brilliant and definitely a key part of what it means to be human, but so to is Rest! The Sabbath/Rest principle is a vital part of living a truly full life in an age of great productivity.