Great Morning Beloved!
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
Here we are, at Commandment #4.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
It appears we are to establish a special time for religious study and worship
But it did other things too.
What is the Sabbath day?
How do we keep it holy?
Sabbath means a period of rest. And as we look at the Creation story literally, after all the work to create the earth and all that lies within, I would need a day of rest too!
The Jewish people held to the law strictly in the beginning. NOTHING was to be done on the Sabbath, at the penalty of stoning to death.
We aren’t that harsh today…thankfully for us or there would be many stonings!
Society grew away from the death penalty for missing church, but the Puritan influence strongly suggested that it was a sin to miss church service.
Any of you remember the Blue laws? Stores, resturants, gas stations were closed on Sundays, we all had to plan ahead for food and gas. One area Drug Store was deemed essential to be open for emergencies in my younger days. Of course, Pennsylvania was a bit slow in dropping those laws.
Eventually it became more a fear of not going to Service, because our religious domestication instilled the fear of God into us.
As society became more and more secular, it was important to be seen going to church, but not necessarily following through on the preaching through the week,
But we at Unity do not look at the Bible literally. And there is more to this than the command to go to church.
Let’s look at what our scholars have to say…I’m pretty sure something will interest you.
Neal Donald Walsh looks at this 4th Commandment as a commitment:
Commitment: You shall remember to keep a day for Me, and you shall call it holy. This, so that you do not long stay in your illusion but cause yourself to remember who and what you are. And then shall you soon call every day the Sabbath. And every moment holy.
The sabbath laws were not created by God, but by humans. They were created specifically to help us stay connected to our divine Source. We are not here in this human experience simply to obey spiritual laws in hopes of a reward in heaven. We are here to express more of the power of God—to create the kingdom of heaven here and now.
The laws are intended to help us remember and retain our spiritual purpose. But each of us is fully and uniquely connected to God as Source, and that connection, and the guidance it offers us, is more reliable than any pre-existing laws.
WE truly should not need a law to tell us to love God, to honor that Source of all that is visible and invisible.
The full version of this Commandment is:
“Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
The Jewish concept of Sabbath was unique, it’s a philosophy of life, a teaching, a guide to the good life…a reminder to us that we are all “made in the image of God,” human beings, equals…actually it could be said, the forefront to our Constitution.
This commandment emphasizes the sacredness of the individual; it applies to everyone: family, slaves, foreign residents, even to animals!
The seven days of creation are the time that it takes to create a new condition in your life. In any kind of work that you do, you must have a Sabbath. The creation story does not deal with time but with stages of unfoldment.
The mystical meaning of 7 is personal perfection. And ‘holy’ in this reference, means ‘set apart’. The 7th day should be set apart for personal perfection. Metaphysically, 7 is completion…that would be completing the creation cycle.
Each of us is to set time aside for the God of our understanding, for us to take time to work on who we wish to be.
Sabbaths are much more difficult in contemporary America. In fact, in a society that values busyness and productivity, observing the Sabbath is downright counter cultural, unfortunately.
Edythe Draper, Christian writer, “In my grandparents’ day it was called the Holy Sabbath, in my Parents’ Day the Sabbath, and today we just call it the weekend.” Catching up on work, errands, watching sports, playing golf.
The key to the Sabbath isn’t merely rest. Rather, it’s that in our rest we turn our attention to God. The Sabbath is an inner as well as an outer thing
Felding calls the Commandments a CHALLENGE – the struggle to unhook from your everyday pressures and connect with something profoundly joyful.
That sounds appropriate for todays society.
Wayne Muller from “Sabbath”:
“In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between work and rest. We have lost this essential rhythm… Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way… We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight. Poisoned by this hypnotic belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort, we can never truly rest. And for want of rest, our lives are in danger.”
This Challenge will ask you to reexamine what Sabbath really means and how to make it a healthy and positive part of your life
Felding sees the Sabbath meaning resting, to cease from activity in progress, to put everything in its proper place which can only be done by taking a step back and looking at your life from a different perspective
It’s an opportunity to break free of the unfulfilling directions we get pulled into during the week and turn toward a more spiritual way of life. And we all get pulled into these directions…it’s how we respond to them that makes Sabbath important.
Ask yourself…What would deepen your sense of freedom each week?
Here are some ways to make the Sabbath richer
1. Choose what you need to stop doing each Sabbath to have a day of freedom from the strivings of the material world. I wonder how many of us could give up TV, or phones or computer…for a day…even half a day (and the part that you are awake!)
2. Select a few favorite activities that will reawaken your sense of Sabbath joy each week-
a. Lighting candles-the light of the candles symbolizes and reawakens the divine inner light we carry inside our hearts,
b. Napping – traditional for healing benefits and to connect with the dreams of our souls
c. Making love-making sexuality into a sacred moment of connection with the Divine Oneness is found in many spiritual traditions. Lovemaking that is relaxed, unrushed, and devoted to a higher purpose can be the most cherished spiritual moment for busy couples
d. Walking-calmly & slowly..walking meditation, help find a quiet center inside
e. Special meal – relaxed, entire family sits down together
f. Singing-good voice or not, the joy of singing with family & friends gives a sense of warmth & closeness
g. Dancing-fun, no matter what type of dancing folk helps us to remember our roots
h. Blessings for family members-prayers of encouragement & encouragement
i. Spiritual study – going a little deeper each week
j. Giving to charity-giving money, helping where needed, visiting elderly, gives a sense of sharing, reminds us to be grateful for what we have, however much it is
k. Special conversations-focus on the blessings and personal growth achieved through the weeks
l. See how much of the Sabbath feeling you can take with you into the week.
Alice Walker, “Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.”
Sr. Joan Chittister – calls this The law of remembrance
She says Life is about listening to the music of the soul.
She reminds us that work is important but it’s a distraction from meaning. Reflection is of the essence of being human.
What do you think of this statement —
Sabbath is about time & who gets it & how they get to use it.
She sounds a little feisty.
She says Sabbath is a day of rest because people are human & ought not be driven to death—every living thing needs time to renew itself.
To her, It was a protest against slavery, this Law made equals of us all because it required rest for all.
Unfortunately, we have enslaved ourselves as well as failed to notice the new kinds of slavery that are being created around us. Reexamine your life…where are you a slave?
I’ve mentioned several times, one of the things that draws me to Unity Principles is that we must be responsible for ourselves. We are accountable for the way we live our lives, the way we do or do not develop our humanity, the way we allow the abuse of others.
We are made for reflection & unless we do it, unless we reflect on what we are doing as humans to other humans, to the earth, to the cosmos, we become nothing but cogs in the enslaving system.
We must take the time to remember that we came from God and to determine what we are doing in process of returning there.
Take time to let Spirit breathe life into your whole being, to pause and become centered in the divine flow of life, love, and substance. On level of consciousness as well as time.
So, simply said, Sabbath is anytime you remember the allness of God present where you are. God is always there, everywhere, we forget that…
As we pray and gather with like minded folks, we will come to realize that God is working in you and in all your affairs. There will be a sense in which every day will be a Sabbath, because for you every day will be a holy day. — there will be no distinction between the secular and the sacred.
THAT is what we all are working for. Then EVERYTHING, EVERY DAY will be Holy.
Charles Fillmore said the ultimate in Sabbath-keeping is – “within every person there is a church service going on all the time & one needs only to enter in & experience it.”
…” one of the things that draws me to Unity Principles is that we must be responsible for ourselves. We are accountable for the way we live our lives, the way we do or do not develop our humanity, the way we allow the abuse of others….”
Sandy, you have such a gift for compiling powerful lessons! You are a master!
Thank you! Also do appreciate that we can read past lessons that you have given without missing them when we have been unable to attend.