Commandment # 4:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: 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: 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.—Exodus 20:8-11 King James Version (KJV)
If you are a faithful Jew, Sabbath is a honkin’ holy day. Right up there with Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Passover, that day of rest is the only holy day mandated in the Big Ten. Right between ‘not taking God’s name in vain’ and ‘honoring your mom and dad’ sits that commandment to chill out. To back off from your daily work. To take 24 hours for relaxation, remembering and enjoying all the goodness that God – AKA Life – has brought you.
Do you pray on the Sabbath? No more than you do any other day. Do you eat on the Sabbath? Absolutely. In fact, your meals are more leisurely and elaborate. What you don’t do on the Sabbath is your regular day-to-day work. It’s about freedom – freedom from daily concerns… freedom from deadlines and schedules and meetings and commitments. And traditional, Sabbath often begins at sundown (did someone say “Happy Hour”?) with Kiddush – a prayer over wine sanctifying the Sabbath as a holy day.
A sabbatical, of course, is simply an extended Sabbath. Rather than only one day a week with no regular work, a sabbatical is a string of many days – sometimes a full year – set aside for relaxing, remembering and enjoying.
In my 28 years as minister of Jubilee!, I have never taken a Sabbatical. It was mostly because I love my job so much, I couldn’t stand the thought of being away for more than a week. Now, I’m thinking, “What the hell? Why not give it a try?” Still in love with my job, but eager to stretch a bit. Stretch, yes! But, no, I am not taking up yoga.
The inside scoop: My upcoming 74th Birthday (whiskey is still a good gift) has been tapping me on the shoulder and reminding me that sooner or later, my brain, body or goofiness may have me dancing in a different ballroom. Might want to:
¨ Move to the islands
¨ Learn to play the bagpipes
¨ See if Jimmy Buffet needs a spiritual guide
¨ Start singing “Dog Breath” on street corners
¨ Run away with Bette Midler
¨ Start a Jubilee! Burning Man in my backyard
¨ Market an ice cream, nacho & whiskey diet
So, in order to explore and check out what might be: The Sabbatical. Time span: 2nd Sunday in January through Palm Sunday. I can’t miss Easter on April Fools Day. Think of the possibilities!!!
And who will be the phantastic phill-ins? Lauren Fortuna (AKA Irene, God’s Personal Assistant) will lead each celebration with a starry cast of Jubilee! Ministers & Minister Should-bes (Chris Andres, Alba Onofrio, Jay Joslin, George Fleming, Justin Martin and others to offer the meditations.
Will I be in town? Mostly. Can’t really afford to stay gone. Nor do I want to. Asheville is my home and Jubilants are my peeps. So, zee bald guy will be in the hood, sniffing things out, praying over wine and whiskey, laughing with friends, eating leisurely and remembering all the goodness with which I have been graced. L’chayim! To Life!