Cartalk / Tabletalk 18: Time to stop and do nothing

Sabbath is at the heart of the Ten Commandments. It asks us to step aside from the economic system each week; and it asks us to provide this opportunity to everyone. Yet very few of us take it seriously. What makes it so hard to stop? How does your household rest? What strategies could you use to ensure you rest more often?

READ: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-20 (Year A Proper 22, paraphrase)

God spoke the following words to the people:

I am the LORD your God; the one who brought you out of the land where you were oppressed, and freed you from a life of slavery. No other gods, only me.

No putting your best time, energy and focus into anything other than me. I don’t care if it’s some heavenly presence, or something in the world around you, or something deep at the centre of things: don’t dedicate yourself to such things; don’t worship them.

No exploiting my name. I am the LORD your God, and I won’t let anyone drag my name through the mud.

Have a dedicated rest day. Work on your business, projects, and chores on the other six days, but keep the seventh day as a rest day, dedicated to me, the LORD your God. No working on this day: not for you, nor your children, nor anyone who works for you, nor anyone else. God made all things in six days, then rested; therefore, God blessed the seventh day and set it apart.

Treat those who have raised you with due respect, and your future will be secure in the land that I, the LORD your God, am giving you.

No murder.

No trivializing relationships.

No stealing.

No lies about your neighbour.

No wishing somebody else’s house was yours. No wishing somebody else’s partner, household, employees or things were yours.

As God spoke these words, thunder crashed, lightening flashed, trumpet blasts rang out, and smoke poured from the mountain. The people were terrified, and stood at a distance, quaking in their boots. They begged Moses to do something, saying, “You tell us what God wants us to hear and we’ll listen; but we’ll die if you let God go on speaking to us directly.”

Moses replied, “Don’t be afraid. God has come to find out what you’re made of, and to fill you with awe so you do not disrupt shalom.”

  • REFLECT: What do you like or dislike about this story? What surprises you? What questions does it raise?
  • RELATE: When and how do you rest? Do your current forms of rest allow others to rest, too, or do they create work for others (e.g. waiters, shop assistants, coaches)? How could you rest in ways which mean rest for everyone? Could you imagine a technology Sabbath: that is, one twenty-four hour period each week with no phones, no screens, no internet? What makes Sabbath rest so difficult?
  • RESPOND: Is God calling you or us to any practical response now? Pray about it, then act, or talk to one of the leaders if it requires a group response.
  • REPORT: If you or your household do take action, text or email a photo of that action to Sanctuary with a brief explanation. We can use it during the service or, with your permission, add it to the Facebook page.

Cartalk / Tabletalk © Sanctuary, 2020. Year A Proper 22. Image credit: Robert Thiemann on Unsplash.

Cartalk / Tabletalk

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