Keep Holy the Lord’s Day

Today is the Christian Sabbath, the day of rest, the Lord’s Day that we are asked to keep holy. Yet, for many (dare I say most) Christians, it will be a day like any other. Apart from a quick stop at Mass or some other service (maybe) it will be a day to catch up on errands, go to sports games, deal with e-mail or any number of other things.

Although I speak of Christians because today is Sunday, I suspect the same if true for our Jewish brothers and sisters, who celebrate their Sabbath on Saturday (more specifically, from sundown Friday evening til sundown Saturday evening). Many spent yesterday doing exactly what they do any other day of the week.

On so many different levels, this is unfortunate, and the real loss is ours. Rabbi Norman Cohen, a Rabbi here in the Twin Cities it has been my fortune to meet recently, gave a talk at Holy Cross about ten days ago that he generously shared with me. It was a beautiful reflection on the Sabbath (that I am hoping he will post online).

In his talk, Rabbi Cohen quote another Rabbi, Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, who wrote:

An artist cannot be continually wielding the brush. The artist must stop painting at times to freshen the vision of the object, the meaning of which is to be expressed on canvas. Living is also an art. The Shabbat represents those moments when we pause in our brushwork to renew our vision of the object. Having done so, we take ourselves to our painting with clarified vision and renewed energy.

It is worth spending some time reflecting on those words because the message is an important one. As Rabbi Cohen observed in elaboration on them, “We need to step away from the usual, the mundane, and the routine and renew our perspective so that we can live our lives to the greatest potential.”

How will you spend your Sabbath today?