O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
By the time you read this I will hopefully have safely returned from my summer break up in Scotland. Many of you will have enjoyed a short holiday and the children are (in theory at least) enthusiastically looking forward to returning to school.
From where I stand there seems to be less space for rest in life than there used to be. Bank holidays have become increasingly meaningless for many, since even the banks are starting to open. More and more people now work at weekends and the shops are very busy on Sundays. I see that the government is thinking of relaxing the restrictions even more regarding Sunday trading, if local councils think that it is a good idea. You might well argue that freedom of choice means that people should be able to use shops and other services whenever they want to.
I remain to be convinced on that one, since in so many other ways government does tell us what to do. Education is compulsory, taxation is hardly optional and red tape continues to thrive and expand. In theory legislation insists that all workers have to have a break, so I would argue why not put things on a level playing field by going back to giving a whole country a compulsory rest once a week.
Our Lord was hardly afraid of hard work, since he could teach all day and then go fishing. He also knew the importance of taking time out; so often he goes off to the hills to find space after a busy period. He was clearly in favour of a weekly rest on the Sabbath, but He wasn’t inflexible about it, since He accepted that some jobs ought to be done and He was happy for people to do things they enjoyed.
‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ as the saying goes. One might also add that no break in working life also takes a toll on family life, friendship and our ability to enjoy some of the simple things in life.
Jesus always encouraged people to take pleasure in the things around them. In the Sermon on the Mount he never denied that it is good to think ahead, but he also stressed that we must take stock of what is important now.
Posted By: valerie