Friday, January 16, 2015

I Also Don't Like the Phrase "Keep the Sabbath"

Last month, I mentioned that I don't like the phrase "break the Sabbath".  I didn't mention it in that post, but I also don't like the phrase "keep the Sabbath".   Frankly, I don't feel as strongly about that wording as I do about the breaking wording, but there is a theological reason I feel the way I do. 

The actual commandment says:

(1) Remember the Sabbath Day to (2) keep it holy.

Thus, in the Biblical injunction, there are two aspects of approaching the Sabbath properly, and I think we miss the mark greatly when we eliminate the first aspect totally and abbreviate the second one by eliminating the word "holy".

Not only does that version alter the injunction itself in important ways, but doing so opens the door for the kind of list-making that plagues our culture.

Why is such list-making so insidious?

1) It is a great example of building hedges so far around the law that the law itself gets obscured and, too often, forgotten.

2) It eliminates the heart of agency encoded in figuring out what is constituted by "holy" in unique lives of different individuals and, instead, substitutes demands from someone else.  Some things that are holy for some people in the circumstances of their lives are not holy for others, and list-making denies people the ability of keeping the Sabbath holy in legitimate ways.  It is a great example of that about which Moroni warned in Moroni 7: calling that which is good, evil, and, moving further from the charity he extols in that same chapter.   

Finally, I know this sounds hyperbolic, but, in a real way, it substitutes Lucifer's plan for the plan of the Father - albeit on a small scale. 

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