As many of you know, I’ve been pondering Sabbath for awhile. The book I wrote, published in 2018 (Soul Tending: Journey into the Heart of Sabbath, Skylight Path Publishing) was only the beginning of a what seems to be a life long journey. My brain continues to chew on the idea that Sabbath is the least kept command of the Ten Commandments. In this country we aren’t wired very well to surrender our time unless it is pleasurable or brings in money.
The Ten Commandments in the good book tell us, “remember the Sabbath to keep it holy“. Holiness is something set aside. Set apart.
I would like to add my own version… ‘remember the Sabbath, to keep yourself wild’. Perhaps wildness is a set aside state of holiness in this time where we have come to the end of nature. Our induced Anthropocene Industrial Age haunts us. Daily, human activity strangles, destroys, manipulates, controls or blindly uses up almost every aspect of what is called “nature” on the planet, including our own selves. We’ve forgotten that every single being on the planet is alive, with it’s own inherent dignity—not a nameless “natural resource”. The thread to wild places has been ignorantly and wantonly severed. Our 21st century western culture is obsessed with the next word, image, or thought vomited out of social media, or the evening news. Wild Sabbath is about diving below all that is making us sick and dis-eased to find our original blessing and the treasure of worth and belonging in a whole World Wide Web of life.
I’ve heard that the God who founded Sabbath is a wild Deity. This God prefers to hang out with the people in the remote wilderness where culture evaporates and survival is about interdependence. The people who road- tested this Sabbath, with their leader Moses, found themselves far from the engorged “fleshpots” of their oppressed but safe existence. This Divine Presence did not seem to care about preserving the strange addictions and habits cultivated and domesticated in society—as much as setting people’s hearts free to roam.
What do I mean by a”wild Sabbath”? The dictionary defines “wild” as something that has not been significantly modified or changed from it’s original state. Undomesticated. What is wild in a person might be “unrestrained, crazy or enthusiastic”. A Wild Sabbath then, might be about recovering that which is most essential and innate in the original Divine roadmap for sabbath, planet earth and her inhabitants. Wild Sabbath might not necessarily be about even setting foot in a church building——which by the way, is usually filled with sacred artifacts and symbolic objects made from the earth herself—wood, water, rock, paper, glass, wine, bread, light.
No, I imagine Wild Sabbath is about going outside with the rest of the inhabitants—who were also given Sabbath as a gift of rest, healing and rejuvenation. There, the gathered worshipping human communities meets the wild Creator in other life forms, finding our own recovery, sanity and solace away from the useless commodification of our lives.
OR, we gather in urban places wrecked from their wildness in order to begin to connect with a vision to revitalize these places to their original beauty. One woman has begun to do this holy work in urban devastation. You must see it to believe it.
If this time of the 21st c. is not about re-weaving the sacred web of life back together when a community gathers, I’m not sure what religion is for. I’ve heard the roots of religion are ‘re-ligio” to re-ligament. If we don’t begin the slow and laborious process of mending the broken and tattered strands between human and all other species—elemental, four footed, finned, winged, slithering and more—invoking sacred space, respect and relationship—the human project will not last long.
I just happen to like Wild Sabbath because I hope it can expand beyond the architecture of “church” and “churched” people.
Wild Sabbath must be for the whole biotic community. Not just humans.