They say confession, particularly the public kind, is good for the soul but bad for the reputation. At the risk of the latter, I confess that I am an unregenerate commandment-breaker. For most of my adult life I have run roughshod over the fourth law in Moses’ Decalogue.
In case you don’t have the 10 committed to memory, the fourth commandment is the longest: “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work…” (Exodus 20:8-10). It goes on from there.
I’m not a complete reprobate. I go to church most Sundays, and not because I’m paid to be there. I even go to church on vacation…sometimes. The institutional part of this command is no problem for me.
The place where this commandment trips me up is the six-days-you-shall-labor-and-do-all-your-work part. Even when I can find a day without a visit, appointment or sermon preparation, and there aren’t many, I check my e-mail, listen to voicemail and phone or drive by the office.
This is not bragging. It is a confession. I am trying for it not to be a repentanceless confession.
So this Lent I am going to do a little reading about the Sabbath, prompted by my reading group, which is joining in this Lenten journey.
We are reading Sabbath As Resistance by Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament scholar and interpreter of no small substance. We are also reading 24/6 by Matthew Sleeth, an Emergency Room physician who argues that we are less healthy when we live 24/7 instead of 24/6 as God instructed us.
Sleeth says Sabbath is “the time of transition from human doings to human beings.” Not a bad definition.
Do you need to confess and repent similarly this Lent? Join me in reading one or both of these titles. Neither is expensive and each is available in paperback or for your Kindle.