May 16, 2018 Common Good

Enact An Alternative

…Sabbath is not only resistance. It is alternative. It is an alternative to the demanding, chattering, pervasive presence of advertising and its great liturgical claim of professional sports that devour all our “rest time.” The alternative on offer is the awareness and practice of the claim that we are situated on the receiving end of the gifts of God. To be so situated is a staggering option, because we are accustomed to being on the initiating end of all things. We neither expect nor even want a gift to be given, so inured are we to accomplishing and achieving and possessing. Thus I have come to think that … sabbath is the most difficult and most urgent of the commandments in our society, because it summons us to intentand conductthat defies the most elemental requirements of a commodity-propelled society that specializes in control and entertainment, bread and circuses…  along with anxiety and violence.*

When we take a good rest from initiating things we can recalibrate our intentions. Is this the work I want to be doing? Are these visions and goals the visions and goals to which I most deeply wish to belong? Am I creating a life that I respect?

Take some time to reflect on your intent today. Can you pair a conduct or habit to that intention? This isn’t the same as numbingout to TV or sports, or taking “time for myself.” This sort of Sabbath is a proactive, creative posture to your everyday lifestyle. What can you do today that that enacts a reality that you are not defined by Pharaoh’s anxiety and violence?



*Brueggemann, Walter. Sabbath as Resistance, Presbyterian Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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