There is no lack of coverage about the coronavirus and, the strangest thing is, it’s making us stop.
stop going to school,
stop going to work,
stop going to social events,
stop going to religious gatherings,
and we are being told to stay away from one another. Bill McKibben writes that staying away from one another makes epidemiological sense. Still, it also makes us a little crazy: social distancing, quarantine, and isolation go hard against the gregarious instinct that makes us who we are.
And what if this virus forces us to stop, to practice Sabbath as resistance? Walter Brueggeman writes that,”Sabbath is not simply a pause. It is an occasion for reimagining all social life away from coercion and competition to compassionate solidarity.”
Brueggeman continues, “Sabbath, in the first instance, is not about worship. It is about work stoppage. It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system of Pharaoh, the refusal to let one’s life be defined by production and consumption and the endless pursuit of private well-being. It is easy to imagine that in Pharaoh’s system there never was a sabbath for anyone. Everyone was 24/7! The slaves never got a day off and perhaps had to multitask to meet their quotas. Pharaoh surely never took a day off; he was too busy writing memos and sending out work orders and quotas. As a result, everyone got caught up in an endless process of production and accumulation.”
Containment and isolation can be lonely places. Places that many of our neighbors and community members sit daily. So, while we entertain new rhythms, thru disruption, maybe we will see new possibilities for pause, consumption and connection that will make us more human – opportunities for life reimagined!