It was just a tweet—a bit of wondering that a pastor named Richard Caldwell threw out there into the technoverse:
Could it be that God didn't wire us to carry every event, taking place in every part of the world, at every moment, as if it were ours? Could it be that technology has produced a faux omniscience and omnipresence that is hurting mankind not helping it? Just a thought.
This profound observation grabbed me, and it won’t let me go. Every fiber of my being says “YES” in agreement. We were not created to be Godlike in our knowledge. At least in this world, we are limited, place-based, time-bound beings. But inventions like the telephone, radio, television, personal computers, and now smartphones have broadened our focus exponentially. They entice us to become godlike: all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful.
As a result, we’re overwhelmed by all the illness, violence, hatred, death, and despair that shows up in each day’s news cycle. We’re exhausted by the constant calls of Facebook friends to do something now about a myriad pressing issues. Our compassion is stretched to the breaking point, and our focus on our fellow human beings is shattered into a thousand tiny splinters.
So if Richard Caldwell’s diagnosis of the illness pervading our society is correct, what’s the antidote?
Maybe it’s a faith practice that goes back for millennia—a practice so beneficial and life-giving that God made it an actual commandment: the practice of sabbath.
Marva J. Dawn writes in Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, “A great benefit of Sabbath keeping is that we learn to let God take care of us—not by becoming passive and lazy, but in the freedom of giving up our feeble attempts to be God in our own lives.”
In other words, Sabbath is a time to “right-size” ourselves. It’s a time to remember that we are the “sheep of God’s pasture”—not the superheroes of the universe. It’s a day to realign, a day to tend to our souls and to the souls of those around us. It’s a day to fast from our frenetic pace and feast on the goodness of God.
There are many restorative and joyful ways to celebrate sabbath. The Faith Formation Ministries team has gathered some helpful sabbath resources for individuals, groups, and families through the Faith Practices Project. We invite you to explore them, to introduce them to your congregation, and to discover afresh the weekly rhythm of God’s good gift of 24 hours to remember who—and Whose—we really are.