Sabbath, Gifts and Virility

Piecing together thoughts for my next chapter, on Sabbath. As always, so many thoughts. Too many thoughts. And my direction amorphous.

It helps to think out loud.

Today, trying to synthesize ideas from Lewis Hyde's The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. Creativity. That's one aspect of human activity that, according to Jewish thinkers, Sabbath puts aside. Not in the pleasure sense (playing my cello), but in the sense of trying to create something new that might solve a problem, meet a need (I know, is not pleasure a need?)

This word that I'd been thinking of in relation to Sabbath comes up in Hyde too: virility. I've been thinking Sabbath asks us to put aside virility (virility is related to creation too, and the possibility of healing). On the Sabbath, we agree to stop being virile. We agree to a cycle that includes not only advance but retreat. I think suddenly that it is fitting Jesus chose to heal on the Sabbath... He being virile for us while we rest in the gift of it.

Gifts, Hyde seems to suggest, also move in cycles. The giver at some point becomes the receiver. If the cycle is broken, the power of the gift diminishes. In a sense, we die. (And now too I think of the terrible Old Testament punishment for breaking Sabbath: death.)

So many thoughts. I think out loud, place them before You (and my friends here). Wait for a shakedown.

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Blogger Joelle said...

Mmmm. I think there is much health in cyclical living, in the mutuality of endless giving and receiving--as the Trinity exists in an unconstrained, unforced flow of love. Hadn't thought of Sabbath before as a time to receive. But I like this opportunity for the heaviness of responsibility to lift, to let God carry the load 24 hours, to stop dusting God's throne and just be. If I don't keep Sabbath, my soul does die. Not as punishment, but the natural consequences of choosing independence and self-sufficiency. I need to rest, just as I need pleasure.

Blogger cindy hanson said...

I, too, have been thinking of the Sabbath... A LOT. How it has changed over the years, how it is different from one religion to the next...

making money, selling goods, using electricity, true rest...

Keeping a true sabbath is foriegn to me. It is terribly unrecognized by our society...

I remember the first time I took a sunday off at work. The seathing sneers for that week were ridiculous to deal with, but it turned out well, I came out of my 'closet' as a christian and soon others were to follow... a good thing.

I wonder though, so much commercialism happens on everyones recognized sabbath... a part of our world I haven't decided yet if I like.

I pray I find some 'virility' in my sabbath, every sabbath. I do enjoy it! :) keep thinking outloud!!!

Blogger nannykim said...

Not sure at what you are getting at ;-) ....all I know is that without a Sabbath...a day of rest...I would have no creativity. I need time just to be with God, to reflect, to rest (physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc). I have to stop...stop to think and listen and it forces (?) me to remember what is important in my life.


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