Using the Sabbath to clear the mind
by Donald Conkey, columnist
February 06, 2014 12:00 AM | 2537 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The banner line for the Cherokee Tribune’s Jan. 25 Living section’s centerpiece story was “Sundays: A time to clear the mind.” The headline caught both my and Joan’s attention and I read the story.

It resonated with me, so much so that I tried to schedule the lecture date on my calendar but found I’m scheduled for minor surgery on Feb. 10. My loss.

I would have liked to meet this medical doctor, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, who gave up a medical practice to write books and to give lectures titled “Embracing the Sabbath: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life.” And I agree, “Embracing the Sabbath” does indeed lead to a “Healthier, Happy Life.”

I speak from 60 years of experience, Sabbaths are for refreshing the mind and what better way to refresh the mind than to worship one’s Creator, the Lord God, on his Sabbath Day. It works; it truly clears the mind and it refreshes the soul, and helps heal both the body and spirit.

And I would have liked to meet the Rev. Jordan Thrasher, Reinhardt University’s chaplain, and congratulate him on organizing this event at Reinhardt University.

As I reflected on Thrasher’s comments two scriptures came to mind, both associated with Dr. Sleeth’s topic. Biblical students recognize the topic is related to the Lord’s third commandment “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)

The Lord continued in verses 9-11 with “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

The second scripture, from Amos 8:11-12, declares “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”

Thrasher, in his remark, “Sabbath keeping is a serious component of our faith that’s been ignored for a very long time,” was totally on mark. Keeping the Sabbath day holy was one of the foundational cornerstones of America’s early growth and success.

But when the Supreme Court cut America’s umbilical cord with their creator and supreme judge of the world (Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence) on June 25, 1962, by declaring prayer in schools unconstitutional it was the beginning of a new era in America where the rising generations began to ignore not only this commandment but all the other nine commandments as well.

America today lives with abundance of bread and water, but it truly has a serious famine in “hearing the word [and commandments] of the Lord.” And that famine of “hearing the word of the Lord” is beginning to take its toll on both America’s secular and spiritual souls.

Behind the headlines of this paper that tell of the hoped for recovery from the ongoing recession lies a fear of the future. And for me that’s sad. Recently I read where another religious leader, also facing challenges from legislative court decisions, began to address his issues with “As we face this issue (same-sex marriage) and other issues ‘of our time,’ we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as his children.”

Keeping the “Sabbath Day Holy,” like same sex-marriages are the issues ‘of our time’ that all religious leaders like Chaplain Thrasher face.

But it is refreshing when medical doctors, trained in caring for the human body, including its mind, speak out and challenge the public to keep the Sabbath Day holy to live “Healthier, Happy Lives.”

Last Sunday, I listened to another doctor, a world-renowned heart surgeon deliver a similar message relating to keeping the Lord’s commandments, a sermon that touched my soul and reaffirmed that living the commandments of God, including the Lord’s third commandment, does indeed lead to happier lives.

This was a lecture I wanted to attend.

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.



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