Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sabbath Slippage

The bad news: my Sabbath observance seems to have slipped away during the past few months. The good news: I've realized this is a problem. Recently, in a display case for kosher meat, I saw this handwritten reminder, "Hang on! Shabbat is coming!" A few weeks later, I got a call from Christopher Ringwald, author of a wonderful book about the Sabbath.

It has been maybe a year since I sent Chris a fan letter after reading, A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom and Joy on the Sabbath. Since then, we've become buddies, swapping stories about being mid-list authors in the faith/religion marketplace and how friends don't let friends quit day jobs to write this stuff. He, by the way, has a terrific new day job as editor of The Evangelist, published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany (New York).

Last Friday night's call was to congratulate me on my new book. I, of course, was delighted to hear from Chris. We both had a good laugh when I said, "And you're calling on Shabbat to tell me this?"

Yep, I'm a laugh riot but my smarty pants riposte has haunted me all week. I used to be more rigorous about keeping at least one weekend day holy having discovered how in the absence of at least one full day of rest, life becomes entirely too nasty, brutish and long. Now it occurs to me that when Jesus said that it's good to save a life on the Sabbath, I might start by saving my own.

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