“Remember the Sabbath”

Exodus 20:1-17

The Third Sunday in Lent

Remember the Sabbath may be the only one of the Ten Commandments which people sometimes feel more guilty about keeping than breaking, because, to remember the Sabbath requires us, sometimes, to say “No,” not only to bad things, but, also to good things, as in, “No, I cannot serve on another board.”  “No, we cannot help with another fundraiser.”  “No, I cannot attend another committee meeting.”  “No, we cannot say “Yes” to one more really worthwhile mission or important activity.”

Which is why many of us feel more guilty about keeping the fourth commandment than we feel about breaking it, because keeping the commandment to remember the Sabbath requires us to set healthy, realistic boundaries, and setting healthy, realistic boundaries requires us, sometimes, to say “No” to good and important things, because we cannot live a Sabbath shaped life which is centered and mindful, and, also, say “Yes” to everything as though we have no limits, and need no Sabbath.

Perhaps one small step in the direction of a more Sabbath shaped life would be to decide to practice the spiritual discipline of saying silently, as a prayer, day after day, all through the day, Remember the Sabbath . . . Remember the Sabbath . . . Remember the Sabbath. 

Needless to say, there is nothing magic about that, but, that very small spiritual discipline, practiced faithfully enough, long enough, might eventually slow the pace of our movements, lessen the number of our words, lower the volume of our voices and help us, someday, to live more centered, mindful, thoughtful, “less is the new more,”  Sabbath- colored lives.

Amen.