“In our own contemporary context of the rat race of anxiety, the celebration of Sabbath is an act of both resistance and alternative. It is resistance because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by production and commodity goods.”- Walter Brueggemann, Sabbath as Resistance (2014)
In Chapter 5 (“Sabbath: The Rhythm of Resistance”) of Survival Guide for the Soul, Ken Shigematsu passionately stresses the importance of honoring the Sabbath. For example B & H Photo in Manhattan is the largest non-chain photo and equipment store in the United States. And second largest in the world.
Owned and staffed by Hasidic Jews, B & H declines to conduct business on the Sabbath. In fact, you can’t even make an online order on this busiest shopping day of the week. Because, as management proudly proclaims-we respond to a higher authority!
Furthermore, historian Thomas Cahill notes the significance of God’s Sabbath decree in the Ten Commandments. Until this point in history, no civilization ever gave working people a day off. As a result, the ancient Hebrews no longer slaved making bricks for Pharaoh. Hence, Ken applies this to us:
“The gift of Sabbath forms a new identity within us as well, reminding us that we are not slaves either. . . . Our value has already been established by the fact that we are beloved by our Maker. We have infinite worth not because of what we do but simply because we are God’s sons and daughters.”
So, the author asks, do you ever feel that you must take the lead in order to achieve the desired results? That you need to be the guy or the girl? If so, Ken counsels, God speaks a different word to you. He tells you that you only need to be is His son or daughter.
In conclusion, Ken exhorts:
“As we embrace the gift of Sabbath, we remember that we are human beings, beloved sons and daughters, rather than human doings, slaves of a harsh task master.”
Today’s question: Do you truly take time to celebrate the Sabbath as an act of resistance? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Begin our weeks at rest – a calling”