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I remember a time many years ago when my children were ready to start their ‘careers’ as footballers. They wanted to play soccer. In our city at that time, the regular games were played on a Sunday. Our church day. We didn’t think of it as being a clash with any rules of the Sabbath but, rather, as an inconvenience. The logistics of combining a two-hour church service in the morning, soccer games, and the evening service would be a problem. We have four sons, (and a daughter who, thankfully, didn’t want to join the girls soccer team) so it was an important problem to solve. As so often happens someone more passionate and more determined to solve the dilemma founded a Christian soccer league which played games on Saturday. The four boys played in this league for many years to come.

Recently I have been reading a book entitled ‘ Sabbath as Resistance’ by the eminent writer and theologian Walter Brueggemann. He suggests the fourth commandment on following the sabbath is the most difficult and most urgent of the commandments in our society, because it summons us to a purpose that goes against the most elemental mores of our commmodity-propelled society. A society that peddles control, entertainment, and ‘do-what-you-want-when-you-want’ to the max. Rest.

I am now asking myself, how well am I offering the gift of Sabbath to others? How does Soulkitchen include a stretch towards sabbath - a big deep breath away from these compulsions in our society? Sabbath is not simply about my ‘pause’ but, as with all our actions and positions, it should offers space for others in my practice. It can create a time for imagining our lives away from the roar of commerce and social anxiety. It offers a seat for those who are heavy and weary to join me in rest.

There is perhaps no better time than this to take time out and prepare a place for your neighbours to rest.

Maybe Sabbath becomes your Gift Card of choice. An invitation of rest and safety for others. A time where you and others acknowledge the gift of life and breath.

Brueggemann completes his short book on Sabbath with these words:

Sabbath is a ‘no’ to the worship of commodity; it is a ‘no’ to the pursuit of commodity. But it is more than a ‘no’. Sabbath is a regular, disciplined, visible, concrete yes to the neighbourly reality of the community beloved by God. We used to sing the hymn ‘Take Time to be Holy, but perhaps we should be singing. ‘Take time to be Human’.

— Sabbath as Resistance (2014)Walter Brueggemann

Sabbath is taking time. Time to be holy. Time to be human.