…In the desperate context of wilderness, work stoppage is definitional because the God of Sinai wants energy invested in the neighborhood and not in self-securing in order to get ahead, as in the empire. Of course there were cheats who multitasked on Sabbath, thereby to get a leg up on bread. But the provision of Sinai is otherwise; Sabbath is an occasion for community enhancement, for eating together and remembering and hoping and singing and dancing and telling stories—all exercises that have no production value. Israel learned at Sinai, and most especially in the fourth command on Sabbath, that there is a viable way to organize the neighborhood outside the rat race. The Israelites departed Sinai with a new possibility. They were able to dream of enough for all, a dream that refused the common and recurring nightmares of scarcity.*
The story we tell about the indispensable nature of our body, our time, and our security undercuts the story about the fragility of our bodies and others, the abundant possibility within this very moment, and the vulnerability that make relationships flourish. Whether you take a vacation a year, a day off a week, a meal a day, or a rest to reflect, write, visit, several times… to make space for dreaming is a habit of the mind and body. To rest is to retrain our mind in an alternative narrative to the dominant story of scarcity. To rest with community is to retrain the habits of your community toward that alternative as well.
As a simple exercise, look over your calendar for the week. Add in space for eating with someone, for dancing, for reading or walking or praying. Note where you will “rest from producing” and invite a friend or neighbor to join you.
*Brueggemann, Walter. Journey to the Common Good (pp. 26-27). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.