May 9, 2018 Common Good

Learning to Pause in the Wilderness

It is impossible to imagine that in the system of Pharaoh there could ever be any restfulness for anyone. Most remarkably Israel, in the narrative, finally is delivered from Pharaoh’s anxiety system and comes to the wilderness; there Israel is given bread that it is not permitted to store up. But even more remarkable, even in such a marginal context, with daily need for bread that is given for the day, provision is made for the Sabbath. Israel cannot store up bread for more than a day; except (big “except”!) on the sixth day Israel may store up enough for the seventh day so that it can rest on that day (vv. 22–24). This unexpected provision is surely a sign that this bread for life is not under the demanding governance of Pharaoh; it is under the sustaining rule of the creator God. Even in the wilderness with scarce resources, God mandates a pause for Sabbath for the community

In today’s media saturated culture we bring the scarcity mindset of Egypt into our weekends, into our rest. Some people are able to do this through a break in technology. Consider talking with your partners or a close friend about taking a day to leave the smartphone on the desk. Or consider talking with colleagues on your projects about hours when you are not expected to answer text messages or respond to social media pushes. No matter how scarce the resources may seem for your work, and how demanding, have the courage to hold brave conversations with others in your life about the boundaries of empire and working.




Brueggemann, Walter. Sabbath as Resistance, New Edition with Study Guide: Saying No to the Culture of Now . Presbyterian Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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