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Tavern Talk #24: Sabbath Mode

Our new refrigerator has a “Sabbath Mode.” When it is activated, the refrigerator quits making ice, the lights do not illuminate when the doors are opened, and the alarm that tells you that you left a door open does not sound. What’s up with that?

For some, work on the Sabbath is strictly forbidden. This comes from the Old Testament’s story of the creation. After six days creating the heavens, the earth, the land, the sea, and the animals, God rested on the seventh day. Later in the Old Testament, the fourth of the Ten Commandments given to Moses says to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. The Sabbath takes place on Saturday. Christians began celebrating Sunday, the first day of the week, as their holy day as Christ rose from the dead at the beginning of the week, after the Sabbath. And we still find secular laws in place restricting activities on Sundays as a result.

Many shift into Sabbath Mode with little appreciation for what it means. This seemed to be especially true back when we could go to church. People shift into their “Sabbath mode” when they are there. Maybe. Others never even pretend to be in that mode. Sometimes we find ourselves going through the motions in our faith, with little thought or engagement with its true meaning.

Jesus illustrated for us the importance of keeping the Sabbath in perspective, as with the other rules and laws that the religious leaders at the time were focused on enforcing. His point was to not lose sight of their underlying purpose -- God is a God of love who wants us to love him and love each other. Jesus explained that it was okay for his disciples to “harvest” pieces of grain to eat as they walked through a field because they were hungry, even though the Sabbath rules prevented harvesting. He went on to heal a man in the synagogue on the Sabbath.

We must focus on the big picture of God’s commandments – love him and love our neighbor. But we also need to actually practice a Sabbath. Take a break. Take a breath. And connect with our maker. Appreciate what we have been provided. Adjust our perspective on life. Our faith should have meaning and not just be a mode that we enter occasionally. So, the takeaway for this Tavern Talk? Don’t be a refrigerator.

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