“When your hands are full of thorns, but you can’t quit groping for the rose… Lie down. Take a rest with me.” ~ Bruce Cockburn
This week we reach the Fourth – and by far the longest – of the Ten Words: remembering the sabbath day, to keep it holy. I grew up in a church where this meant going to Sunday services in the morning and the evening, and not watching TV or listening to records in between. Thankfully my parents did not share this opinion – although if those records woke dad up from his post-Sunday roast nap, there were consequences. Dad knew how to rest on Sundays – something many of us have still not learned.
As technology increasingly interjects itself into our lives, when we literally have the world at our fingertips, for many of us it seems next to impossible to take one day in seven “to rest from all our labours.” Our phones are constantly tempting us to pay attention to something other than the rest we so desperately need. I often wonder if the most counter-cultural thing we can do is to actually take one day a week to rest, to unplug from technology, to “waste time,” to stop consuming. To do something that is life-giving, restorative and NOT work. One of my sabbath rituals is to leisurely cook a big breakfast for the family, listening to my “Sunday morning” playlist, which consists mostly of the songs I grew up with, the songs my dad crooned out as mum accompanied him on the piano. We’ll go for a long walk or hike, play boardgames with friends, gather with our community for a meal, and I will try not to look at a screen of any kind.
The sabbath is central to the Story of God – and provides the vision for a just society where everyone can flourish. When that group of just-freed slaves received this Word, they received the seeds of the end of slavery itself, for the sabbath is a day of rest for all. In a world where slavery is still very much with us, and where we voluntarily sell ourselves into bondage of all kinds, we need the Fourth Word more than ever. And we need songs to sing along the way. So, what song would you add to a sabbath playlist? I chose “Southland of the Heart” from Bruce Cockburn’s wonderful twenty-year young album, “Dart to the Heart.” Add your lyric and the artist in the comments below, and let’s create a playlist to rest by.
The playlist for the Fifth Word is up on Spotify now – listen here: 5: honor your parents. Ben Bainbridge gets a copy of TEN for his suggestion – more for the reason he gave than the song itself!