Idol Chatter

What is a Sabbath, really? And how does it impact the weekly rhythm of individual lives? Although I am aware that there is Sabbath structure set up in Islam (on Fridays) and Christianity (on Sundays), my perspective is mostly Jewish. For some Jews, Sabbath is Shabbos, literally sacrosanct, and with strict rules that are inviolable. Conservative Jewish thinker Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel famously compared the Sabbath to a “palace in time,” a space that is impervious to external pressures and influences. In Israel, the word for Saturday is “Shabbat,” whether you’re religious or secular, so secular Israelis may spend their “Shabbat” on the beach, clubbing or involved in other activities that are seen by their religious brethren as violations of Shabbat. Some American towns, like the one I grew up in, experience “Blue Laws” on Sundays, restricting the purchases of certain goods and enforcing a Sabbath of sorts even for those who are not inclined to observe it.Now one organization is using the concept of Sabbath, across different religious systems, as something that many religions can sign on for, especially if it helps people who are struck by poverty or disease.According to the initiative’s website:

ONE Sabbath – along with its companion Muslim and Hindu programs ONE Sadaqa and ONE Seva – rallies individuals and congregations of all faiths to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of people living in extreme poverty and struggling against preventable diseases. Using ONE Sabbath tools, churches and houses of worship respond through advocacy to such global challenges as AIDS, malaria, lack of clean water and children out of school.

An accompanying video (see embed below) helps explain further, and features spiritual leaders from several faiths (including Pastor Rick Warren) talking about humankind as a family, and, as one Baptist reverend notes, consult the texts and “find passages that will motivate and guide and direct the activities that we ought to take.”So view the list of faiths and organizations participating in the One Sabbath initiative – is yours there, and will you accept the challenge?

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