In contrast, a terrible Sabbath teaching with zero grace

While researching the history and theology behind the Sabbath, I came across a LOT of posts and articles like this one. I’m not going to link to it – just give a few excerpts. This sort of thing is very common. I’ve heard it before many times.

“In my own life, I try to take at least two walks each day – these short 45 minute Sabbaths refresh, renew, and revitalize; they inspire me with new ideas and enable me to respond compassionately to the people around me. Time spent in Sabbath comes back to me in greater creativity, inspiration, and compassion. I try to take more extended Sabbaths – an afternoon or a day apart, without internet or working, on a regular basis. On Sundays, I try to study and spend time with my family rather than do business tasks.

Martin Luther is reputed to have noted, “I have so much to do today that I need to spend extra time in prayer.”

Today, make a commitment to a few minutes of Sabbath – a time of prayer and meditation, a walk, a conversation with a friend, devotional reading. Time is relative and Sabbath opens us to spacious living, and rest that rejuvenates.”

Can you feel the weight of the law crushing down on you? Nice suggestion – take a 45 minute walk each day to revitalize? What if you’re a single mom? (Heck, what if you’re a married mom?). That Martin Luther quote gets pulled out ALL THE TIME to try to exhort people to pray more. What it really does is just make you feel like a loser. (Unnecessarily so.) Finally, there is a plea to “make a commitment” to get your act together by observing the Sabbath more. Automatic fail. Bleh.

No grace to be found in one word of this ridiculous prescriptive preaching. The author probably thinks he’s being really helpful and biblical too. It’s all good advice, but no good news. This sort of thing doesn’t help anyone.