by The Rev. Laura V. Queen
“Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy” says the Fourth Commandment. What does that mean in this day and age?
The Fourth Commandment was so central to Old Testament worship that Jesus was criticized for healing on the Sabbath. Now the Sabbath is almost forgotten. Everything happens on the Sabbath: football games, golf tournaments, marathons, household errands, and early bird sales. The Sabbath has become the time when everything but rest, worship, and quietness happens. Then on Monday, everyone complains that they are tired.
Jesus reestablished the Sabbath’s true meaning when he said, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mk.2:27) What Jesus was saying is something that we need to think about, which is this: God knows we need rest. God desired for us to slow down, remember who we are and whose we are. The Sabbath is a deep need for all of us.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, getting enough sleep is very important to our health and well-being. People who get adequate sleep are sick less often and more likely to maintain a healthy weight. It can lower your risk of serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, reduce stress, improve your mood, and help you to get along better with other people.
Taking the Sabbath seriously requires discipline. It’s not easy. We like being busy, entertained, and distracted. We’ve lost the will to be quiet for a period of time, to sleep the recommended seven to eight hours each day, to truly rest, and to take the time to do many of the things that will enrich our lives in the long run.
What does Sabbath mean to you? How do you find rest and refreshment in your daily routine? Perhaps now is the time to make the time for Sabbath in your life. Why not make a conscious effort to set aside the time to do those things that nourish and feed your soul?
There is great wisdom in the Fourth Commandment. It is a gift from God meant to enhance our lives and make them meaningful.
In Jewish tradition, the Sabbath is like a meeting with the one you love. Life is scheduled by living up to and from the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of great anticipation and joy.
Maybe as we settle into the Autumn season, we could schedule the Sabbath back into our lives.
The Rev. Laura V. Queen is the Assistant Vice President of Pastoral Care in the Education & Wellness department at CPG. Laura has served as a rector, associate rector, chaplain to Episcopal retirement communities, and a missioner for youth and camping in the Dioceses of Massachusetts and Los Angeles. Laura commutes from her home in Stratford, Connecticut, to her office in New York where she enjoys working and traveling with the CPG team. She has been married to her supportive spouse for 22 years.