PERSONAL SABBATH

An enduring memory is from a book by Erich Fromm, You Shall Be as Gods, 1969. (As I recall without the book at hand,) Fromm described the Jewish concept of Sabbath as a time for assimilation of the work accomplished the previous 6 days. During my years as a church musician, Sunday and other days during special church year seasons were the culmination of planning, practice, organizing, and performance. These were the most intense working day(s) of the week. Sunday was a day of high responsibility, even though spiritually fulfilling. Thus I learned to designate my own “Sabbath” – whether in the form of daily quiet time for study, meditation, prayer, listening, or a full day of rest from career activities. Scripture makes it quite clear that times of personal Sabbath rest are mandatory for the “receiving” mode of the spirit – whether assimilating experiences and accomplishments, or simply observing quiet and true inner rest. One cannot give perpetually without personal time for refreshment, fulfilling leisure activities, inner listening, regaining perspective and acknowledging God’s blessings for one’s self. The following thoughts from many years ago confirm what most of us already know, but may need encouragement for in today’s ever-hectic world of demands.       – mjd


“To do any work as well as it can be done a man must at times give himself fully to it, at other times break from it. To produce effectively in one direction I must spare myself in a dozen others. In short, everything depends upon a man’s purpose in life …”

“As a creative spirit I must make sure that I do my essential work, that I preserve my instrument, as the great soprano preserves her voice. Each worker knows best the conditions under which activity of his type can best be maintained, and should not allow himself to be governed by those whose work is in other fields. Some must rest and browse a large part of the day in order to make the occasional master-stroke, while others must work throughout a long day, because unbroken labour is for them the most direct means to the end in view. Good health springs from and accompanies individual work done in an individual way.”

“The life that pulsates through me knows better than I how I can best live and create.”

“Abundant power has been given me to do my work and to keep well.”

 – Horatio W. Dresser, Ph.D. A Message to the Well;
And Other Essays and Letters on the Art of Health, 1910.


On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made,
so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 

God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy;
because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created,
so that it itself could produce.

Genesis 2:2-3, Complete Jewish Bible

Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.
Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.
Deuteronomy 5: 12, 13, 14a

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