Article by Curtis Beaird
Photography by Curtis and Norma Beaird
To say that Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel has been a strong influence on me is an understatement. When I read,
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy",
I listen and I listen to Rabbi Heschel.
For starters, he never fails to point me in the right direction......
"Six days a week the spirit is alone, disregarded, forsaken, forgotten. Working under strain, beset with worries, enmeshed in anxieties, man has no mind for ethereal beauty. But, the spirit is waiting for man to join it.
Then comes the sixth day. Anxiety and tension give place to the excitement that precedes a great event. The Sabbath is still away, but the thought of its imminent arrival stirs in the heart a passionate eagerness to be ready and worthy to receive it."
You can see why it was not a hard thing for me to find my way into writing about the Sabbath. The week has come and gone. Obligations are suspended.
The spirit and gifts of the Sabbath prevail.
The Sabbath: A guiltless moment of reflection and soul rest. Time when fixing the broken, solving the problem of meeting "their" needs is suspended. The focus becomes grace, forgiveness and solace for the soul.
The sound is that of hearing the care of God, experiencing a work of grace, and finding again the song in your soul. For at least a second, the context of time gives way to the essence of the eternal.
The Sabbath: That time when the noise of demand, the need to control, the illusion of power and property ceases to hold sway. The vision and dream are made of gift and promise, love and silence, hope and future. The soul is permitted the luxury of being still; the mind’s eye envisions the land of promise.
You become quiet. Demands, both inner and outer are suspended. The Sabbath offers a moment when we are complete, whole, integrated, fully alive, fully together; one, at least with ourselves.
The Sabbath: A chance to be comfortable and comforted in an out of control world. A world short on care and long on sensation and threat. A world that addresses the dark with a thrill and flees from the healing grace of silence.
The Sabbath settles as well as excites. The hope found in the Sabbath generates the excitement of possibility, rather than the escape of distraction. The Sabbath heals as well as calls. The Sabbath collects, gathers and inspires us to the highest and best. The Sabbath is invigorating. It shows us more than the obvious and looks past the pain.
The Sabbath frees the slaves.
Exodus 20: 8 - 11 (King James Version)
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Copyright 2012, Curtis Beaird. All rights reserved.