Posted by: Susan Gaddis | June 3, 2010

How Do You Touch Holy Time?

Iona Abbey, Scotland

Did you know that the first sacred thing recorded in the Bible is not a person, place, or object? It is a day. God called the first six days of creation good, but the seventh day was not called good. It was called holy.

I understand a holy place. I have stood on the holy isle of Iona and felt the sacred all around me. I know holy people—folks that radiate the grace of God and speak in ways that pull me closer to what I know is true. Sacred objects can be found in any church. Places, people, and things can all be touched, but a holy day—how does one touch time? How does one honor the Holy in a span of time?

Those questions seem to pull rules and regulations out of any person wanting to keep holy time. Yet, God gave very few rules about honoring the Sabbath. He just told us to observe it by not working. God didn’t even really define work. He just said not to labor. I find that very liberating. What seems like work to me—think folding laundry—may be something you find restful.

God established Sabbath at creation. He later confirmed it with a command. Later, Jesus affirmed Sabbath by taking it out of the clutches of the Pharisees so the followers of the Lord of the Sabbath could again practice it free of rules and regulations.

Far more than a conviction, Sabbath is commanded of us. It requires us to say no to work-time and yes to God-time. Seems like a God ordained holy/day to me! Yet, Sabbath keeping is still one of those 10 commandments that all of us break either by our actions or heart attitude.

Why do you think we treat the Sabbath command as optional?



  1. I think we treat the Sabbath command as optional because it is so counter-cultural. All the other commandmentss invlove being good and refraining from being bad. They go along with how we are raised – to be good people and not do bad things. However, our culture values working and productivity as good and worthy while rest and inactivity are seen as bad and wasteful. This one commandment goes against our deeply ingrained Martha mindset. It’s easier to just keep going along being good and productive and assume God is pleased with that.

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