Saturday, April 16, 2011

Heschel on the value of the Sabbath for our technological age

No, this is not Gandalf or Francis Schaeffer's long lost brother, it is Abraham Heschel

While studying Mark 2 and 3 where the Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus by their warping of Sabbath observation, I have been looking at the perspective of well respected Jewish scholars on the topic. I found Abraham Heschel's explanation of the Sabbath to be enlightening. Basically Heschel's perspective says Judaism is a religion of time, not space, and that the Sabbath symbolizes the sanctification of time. I'm not advocating the whole of anything Heschel says, but I think his thoughts can help Christians understand the value of a day of rest in the midst of the rat race we call life. Note what Heschel says-

"It (the Sabbath) is a day we can celebrate time rather than space. Our modern technological society can boast of our conquest of space, but we have not conquered the essential ingredient of existence: time. It is the realm of existence where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Many spend all their lives acquiring material possessions but shrink from sacred moments. Everyone needs a time to be able to lay aside the feverish pursuit of success, trying to wring profit from the earth or to amass more goods.

Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world."

- Abraham Heschel (The Sabbath)

1 comment:

Woody Woodward said...

It was so cool, Sunday night at Lansing we had the opportunity to speak to the men about the Sabbath. Several of them have a pretty twisted ideas here and your Sunday sermon was a great help. We were able to share Mark 2:23- Mark 3:6, Christ’s rebuke to the Pharisees of their self-twisted interpretation of the Sabbath, showing them the true Laws on the Sabbath from Deuteronomy 23:35.