Summer Reading List, Post 3: Sunday, Sabbath & the Weekend
Sunday, Sabbath & the Weekend: Managing Time in a Global Culture
Edited by Edward O’Flaherty and Rodney L. Peterson with Timothy A. Norton
Review by: Lt. Colonel Pat LaBossiere
Sabbath. The word means different things to different people. For some it is a day to watch or play sports. Others consider it a day to catch up on housework, errands or shopping. Many regard it as a day of rest when they can disconnect from the busyness, responsibilities, demands and the many voices that call for attention throughout the rest of the week. And there are those who would say that they, “honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.” Is Sabbath any of these things? Could it be all of them?
Sabbath. The word means different things to different people.
About this book, Claire Wolfteich says, “Here fourteen contributors from diverse traditions across the spectrum of American Christianity examine how Christians and others can find needful rest through Sunday and Sabbath in managing the pressures of our 24/7 global culture. The book weaves together essays by scholars, pastors, and laity to tease out the meaning of Sabbath practices and Sunday for people today.”
Gloria White-Hammond, in her chapter entitled “Home Alone: Seeking Sabbath”, says, “I come at this first chapter with the intent of encouraging you to take to heart the notion of seeking Sabbath in your life.” She goes on to encourage the reader to consider being “present” with others in their lives.
Rodney L. Peterson asks the question, “Can Sabbath practice offer some solace and light to everyday existence in the midst of contemporary social reality?” Later, he quotes Karen Burton Mains who says, “Sabbath was given as a gift of mercy following years of servitude. It was a space of time in which to focus on relationships – between themselves and their work, their families, their community, and their God.”
In “Sabbath Keeping and Social Justice”, Marva Dawn states, “The Hebrew command … features ceasing for the sake of God. When we keep the Sabbath, we cease our regular work in order to learn more about God, for if we know who God is, and what God’s character is like, we will be formed in God’s image.” She examines the two versions of the Sabbath command found in Exodus 20: 8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15 and posits, “The first version calls us to love God by imitating the Lord. The second version urges us to love our neighbors by refraining from causing them any harm.”
The various writers conjecture about Sabbath using such statements as:
- …the practice of Sabbath serves regularly to jog our memories back to the truth of our authentic identity and purpose as the people of God.
- for the Christian who is in touch with the wellsprings of the faith, Sunday is, above all else, a day for corporate worship, for Christian fellowship, and for godly service through works of charity
- an encounter with the living God
- the day of Christ-Light, the day of the gift of the Spirit, the day of faith
- the chief festival of the faith … connotes the continuing work of God in daily life
- how we apply missional thinking to the Sabbath as the Lord’s Day is of vital importance
- it is helpful to think of the practice of a common Sabbath as a matter of common good
Not a quick read, but an in-depth look at Sabbath, this book brings a wide variety of outlooks and examines Sabbath through a historical, theological, cultural, and Scriptural lens. As we wrestle with the meaning of Sabbath and how to personally participate, this book offers insight that is worth reading and considering.
Other Recommended Reading on Sabbath: