'Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD.' ~Leviticus 26:2
Do you set apart a day in the week for Sabbath? A day away from cell phones, iPods, iPads, Blackberries, TV, the computer, work, and any other distraction from rest and worship? It doesn't necessarily have to be Sunday, but in a week, you should always have a Sabbath for your own good - spiritually, mentally, and physically. Back in Jesus' day, and according to Jewish law, resting on the Sabbath was to be taken very seriously, almost to the point of absurdity by some.
In our culture today, the concept of Sabbath can be very difficult to fathom weekly because we are so interconnected. Within seconds, we know the latest happenings locally and around the world, and we immediately can begin to determine the impact of whatever is going on, how it will affect us, and plan our participation.
Look at the quake in Haiti for example: Years gone by, the news of what happened in Haiti would have taken days or even weeks to reach us and though we may have felt for the people there, we probably would have carried on with our lives and let those closest to the action take care of things. Today, we hear the news of something like the quake in Haiti and we immediately share it, mobilize funds and/or ourselves to engage in action to help. This is not a bad thing per se, but I believe it is this interconnectedness, in part, that sabotages the practice of Sabbath in our day.
I like to define my faith as being a "relationship with Jesus surpassing religion." And just as religion can be an idol to many, interconnectedness can also be an idol.
Interconnectedness can and has been utilized for great good, but it also has become an god of sort to the current generation...How it takes away from observing Sabbath is by keeping us always connected to the world and distracted from connecting with God. How many people do you know check their Facebook, blog, Twitter, MySpace, e-mail everyday? Every hour? (And yes, I am preaching to myself here.) Even on the day that is set aside for God, there are moments stolen here and there to check in on things through the World Wide Web...you know, just to see how everyone is doing and check in letting the world know you are having a great Sabbath...
Now, I am not saying that you should be closing yourself into a cocoon on the Sabbath. I am just pointing out that some of us are neglecting a very important gift from God and in the process, denying God our attention and denying our whole self from being blessed to the core. It is a practice that teaches us to slow down and focus on what is really important - our relationship with God.
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, ~Heb 4:9-11a