We are already a month into this and the prewriting seems to be working. I hope this is as interesting to you as it is to me.
The traditional version of this commandment is from Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15. It goes, “remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work – you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.” The BCP version is, “and to set aside regular times for worship, prayer, and the study of God’s way”.
The traditional version is rather interesting with its inclusiveness. The day of rest is for everyone. Doesn’t matter who you are, a slave, a woman, or a foreigner. Even animals get to rest on this day! That’s something you don’t everywhere, even today. This day is for worship, but it doesn’t end there. It is about rest. No work was to be done at all! A day where you are to do nothing, could you imagine that today? I don’t think we can do this. We simply lack the ability to stop. We need to learn this skill or our health will deteriorate. Without rest and relaxation, we will cause harm to ourselves, physically and mentally. The ancient Hebrews were, somehow, able to see this and made it a commandment to take a day of rest. I find that amazing.
The traditional version is also about spending time with God. It’s a relationship and if we don’t put time into it, it will fail. This shouldn’t be work to make time for those with whom we are in a relationship.
The BCP version lacks the day of rest, which I think is important. Time for rest is very important. We are so busy that we rarely take time to relax. We go and keep going until we can’t go anymore and that is not good for us, our family, our friends, and God. We barely have time for what ‘needs’ to be done, so having time for anyone or anything else doesn’t happen often.
If we don’t spend time with God, how can we know them? If we don’t take time to read the Bible, then how will we know if someone is deceiving us about our faith? If we don’t worship together, how can we build a community of faith? Our lack of communities dismays me. Few take the time to get to know each other. Even fewer take the time to create and maintain communities. Very few take the time to meet with others for mutual support.
They both agree on taking time to get to know God. They also imply that we need communities of faith. We need them because we cannot make it through life alone. Most importantly, and sadly not included in the BCP version, we must rest regularly. On a side note, in the BCP, this is the end of the section on our duty to God.