Examining the History and Importance of Sabbath
By David Romanik
When I was a child, Connecticut residents could not purchase alcohol on Sundays. This prohibition was one of the last remaining blue laws, a collection of codes that could trace their origins to the days when Congregationalism was the state’s established religion. As you might guess from their Puritan heritage, these blue laws (so called because they were written on blue paper—at least that’s how the story goes) were designed to enforce the observance of the Christian Sabbath. Indeed, for a long time, Connecticut had laws that strictly regulated commerce, leisure, and travel on Sundays. Most of these blue laws (including the prohibition against selling alcohol) are now gone, and with them a sense that the Sabbath has any value for the modern world.
It is not surprising that our culture has come to question the value of the Sabbath. As the Connecticut example proves, the Sabbath was, for a long time, about pietistic restrictions against any form of pleasure. As a result, Sabbath is one of those elements of our faith that feels more like a quaint artifact from a bygone era than an important aspect of our relationship with God. The Sabbath, however, is not about restrictions; it is about tapping into the potential that exists at the heart of every person. Far from being quaint, the Sabbath is a practice uniquely suited to deepening our relationship with and experience of God. Moreover, it is a simple and powerful way to reorient our understanding of ourselves and our relationship with the world.
During the summer months, our Adult Forums will examine the history and importance of Sabbath and explore ways we might make it part of our lives today. Join us in the Parish House between the 8:00 and 10:00 services.