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Friday, April 28, 2006 

A delight

To talk about the Sabbath Day is to talk about commandments in general. After all, the strictures that we generally find imposed on ourselves during the Sabbath are just the sort of things that people go to day spas to enjoy. A day without media? Isn't that why people go camping? Isn't that what people are after with yoga classes and morning Tai Chi in the park? Meditation and a connection to the divine? What else would you like?

Well, for starters, it seems like we would like our meditation to come in shorter doses (not as long as daylight). We would like to set aside our quiet day in the event that there is something noisy and interesting coinciding with a Sabbath. We wanna be in charge, darn it! Any day that is our own is satisfying, but it cannot be a Sabbath and that is irksome.

There is some ambiguity about the title of the Sabbath. There are two possible Hebrew sources: one meaning seven (as the Sabbath was (and remains for Jews) the seventh day of the week); the other referring to ideas of covenant and oaths. Both make sense, explaining the ambiguity I suppose. There is no moral imperative for Sundays in the Church (the Sabbath day migrates in the Middle East). So we are stuck with the covenantal idea for our justification.

So, what isn't to like about the covenant? At any given time in the church, we are the bearers of several covenants with God. Some of them involve outward displays, others are solely inward motions. Believers find them all effective and important. Indeed, believers would argue that inner belief is what makes them effective; solely outward participation may reap social rewards, but it has no eternal value.

We make a big deal in the Church of Jews, of the joys that the orthodox take in fulfilling commandments. Why just be envious? Why can't the fulfilling of commandments be a delight because it is an expression of one's love of God? I don't know, but we don't seem to be there yet.

Perhaps it is because we are still too concerned with outward appearances. I, for one, would find the Sabbath more enjoyable if it didn't involved wrestling my five-year-old into church clothes weekly. However, I keep doing it, because something about it strikes me as important. Something Ossie Davis said in Joe vs. the Volcano. Though the Sabbath and some other commandments are outward, they are meant to be expressions of inward convictions. Perhaps someday I'll get to that point. In the meantime, I'll keep on struggling with my necktie and looking forward to the goldfish in Nursery.

ps. the name has changed but the song remains the same. For more info (vague as can be), see here.

Posted by HP

This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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