What do “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,”The Office” & “Sabbath” Have in Common?
Today is my day off.
On my days off (which is almost always Friday), I like to sneak into the darkest room in the house, curl up with another cup of coffee (that’s at least number 5) and binge watch whatever show I happen to be addicted to at the moment. When Netflix asks me, “Are you still watching?” I always yell at the TV, “WHAT ELSE WOULD I BE DOING ON MY DAY OFF!?!?”
Today is my day off.
This morning I retreated to a dark room, had been making great progress of another guilty pleasure, when I remembered that the grass in my yard was beyond the point of embarrassment for a parsonage and any self-respecting pastor…
Unenthusiastically, I strapped on my work boots, put my headphones on (volume all the way up to my work music, “The Avett Brothers” or “Old Crow Medicine Show) and began working outside.
“Today was supposed to be my day off,” I thought to myself…
Sweet dripping from my brow, I pushed the lawnmower up the steep hill in our backyard and kept saying to myself, “Today is my day off. Right.”
But as I did the surprisingly satisfying work of tidying the yard, I began to realize that perhaps work is exactly what a day off should be.
In Walter Brueggemann’s book Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of No, he talks about how “Sabbath” is more than binge watching your favorite show in a dark room (he doesn’t phrase it quite like that, but the point is the same). He makes the case that Sabbath should be work. A day set aside should not only be a time to do nothing. A day apart should be a time when we intentionally unplug from the rest of the world and actively reconnect with the Divine, the Great Mystery, The Holy Other or whatever other name you have for what I call God.
I find that whenever I am intentional in my day off to slow down, be still and see what I had been missing in my life of constant consumption (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Buzzfeed, NY Times and the multitude of “pastor-y” sites I visit), I truly am recharged. When I use this day only for binge watching Netflix, I might be missing the point of a Sabbath altogether.
Now, I am not standing on a soap box saying there is never a time to shamelessly watch 5 hours of TV (and that’s probably a low figure ). There are (maybe) times when unplugging like this to “veg out” is healthy. But when we think about a day off becoming a day of working – by reconnecting with the greatness lying just beyond our multitude of screens – maybe we will truly find rest and be recharged for the week ahead.
So today is my day off. I am still going to watch some Netflix, play some Fifa 16 and mow the lawn. But I am also going to try and slow down, see what a day of rest in the rejuvenating energy of Sabbath feels like too.