Saturday, June 02, 2012

"Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest" -- Exodus 34:21

My recent very unpleasant medical problems have made me ask what is the best way forward in my life. To answer that question I turned to the wisest book I know: The Bible. And I found the quotation above. Following Bible advice has always worked wonderfully for me so I now intend to follow that piece of advice too. I intend from now on the keep the Sabbath and will blog only six days of the week instead of seven.

But it will be the real Sabbath I will keep, not the pagan abomination of the Sun's day. It was precisely because the pagans had set aside the first say of the week as a day to worship the sun that the ancient Hebrews defiantly made the seventh day of the week their holy say and I will follow their example. I will no longer blog on Saturday but will do other things.

But I will not be surrounding what I do with rules. As Jesus said, the Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The Bible simply says to do no work and that does not exclude doing all sorts of other things.

One of the things I would like to do today is to learn the words of the Stabat Mater in full. It is the most famous Medieval Latin poem and has been set by many composers -- with the glorious rendition by Pergolesi being best known. I already sort of know the poem but would like to be able to recite the whole thing right through without interruption. To be able to do that will be pleasure, not work. Latin poetry is wonderful even in a work of Marian devotion.

Stabat mater dolorosa
Juxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat filius

Cuius animam gementem
contristatam et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius ... etc

The is a video from Italy here which offers a respectful version of the first part of the Pergolesi masterpiece. If it's a techno beat you like, you will hate it. This is a work of profound contemplation about the central event of the Christian faith. Even I as an atheist can feel the power of it.


Robert said...

This entry reminded me of the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda, CA that author Dan Buettner talked about at a recent Distinguished Speakers event. He is one who studied the habits of the people in the world with the greatest average longevity, what he called "Blue Zones" (explained at The two things that stood out were that the Adventists regard sundown Friday to sundown Saturday as the Sabbath day, and refer to the Bible for dietary guidance - mainly nuts, seeds, legumes and beans.

Gary Baker said...

Our pastor has a love of teaching the Old Testament with a heavy empahsis on context. He has made several extended trips to Israel for research and to get a better feel for the people and the land. He says that the Sabbath is regarded as the best day of the week. All of the meals are put up ahead of time, and the family is free to rest, read, play games, and enjoy each other. It's a different culture than Americans are used to, but I can see the benefits.