Because time is such a governing force in our culture, it says something when you are governed by a different kind of time. How we function in and relate to time is one significant way to signal that we are caught up in a different kind of story—an alternative story with peculiar priorities.
To carve out regular and rhythmic periods of rest is a declaration of what is important to us. It is a clear demonstration of what we value and love. It even sends a message about who or what we trust.
Time is a precious commodity, consistently on the move. We therefore feel pressure to capitalize on every unit of it in order to accomplish the most with what we have. To surrender such a precious and fleeting thing to God is a radical and risky move of trust. It says we have more faith in him than we do in ourselves, that we worship the true God who provides what we need, not the false idols of wealth and achievement that are never satisfied. Maybe that is why Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called the Sabbath “a sanctuary in time,” and “our great cathedrals.”3 It is a sign and symbol of whom we worship. In this light, Sabbath should be seen not as time lost, but time redeemed.
The practice Sabbath is a gift of grace to us. In his wisdom and kindness, God established a rhythm of rest by his example and invites us to participate in it. Hidden in its practice are reminders of who we are and revelations of who he is.
What are your thoughts? In what ways is Sabbath a foreign or familiar practice to you?