Rest that Unites

All over the world, Orthodox and other observant Jews are inviting their Jewish brothers and sisters to join them in Shabbat. Here’s an example from South Africa:

The video gives me goosebumps. People choosing to turn their phones off, walk out in the street, make bread together, eat together, pray together and come together over religious observance. It is stunning. I am struck by how the project brought about unity. The religious observance of rest, of Shabbat, brought people together across Jewish denominational lines.

Currently, I work six days a week. This helps me take Sabbath seriously. On the day I don’t work, I try to really not work. I try to be stringent about no screen time and no sense of efficient productivity. If I don’t rest fully, I start my next work week tired and uninspired. But it’s hard, especially because I’m resting alone. My time off doesn’t coordinate with time off of my friends and family. I’m jealous of the people in the video who all chose to rest together in community. I have to hold myself accountable to rest. It’s easy to just keep working while others are at work. Our society values it. There’s always more to do. In a world that requires us to blur the lines between work and rest more and more, how can we ardently protect a time of rest each week as a way to honor God?

How do you find the rest of Sabbath in your week? What would a world-wide Christian Sabbath Project look like? How can we unite over our religious observance of Sabbath? How can we rest in community?

Published by Ellie Roscher

Ellie Roscher is the author of How Coffee Saved My Life, and Other Stories of Stumbling to Grace. She holds a master’s degree in Theology/Urban Ministry from Luther Seminary and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College.

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