Saturday, March 4, 2023
The Razor’s Edge: The True Intention of the Sabbath
By Cris Waters
“I wish I could make you see how exciting the life of the spirit is and how rich an experience. It’s illimitable. It’s such a happy life.” –Larry
In America, Larry is surrounded by people who think he is throwing his life away on an “adolescent indulgence.” His fiancé, Isabel, and her uncle, Elliot, who is a terrible ex-pat snob who only cares about moving amongst European society in the right circles (even to the point of believing that surely that means he’ll be among the best in Heaven as well), especially. Isabel says at one point, “Be a man, Larry, and do a man’s work. You’re just wasting the precious years that others are doing so much with.” Somehow, Larry knows she’s wrong, but he can’t convince her. However, most of the people Larry encounters on his travels are more supportive and understanding. He stops first in London and Paris to study from books, then he works in a coal mine in France with a man named Kosti, a Polish army officer, who encourages Larry to explore the spiritual side of things, rather than looking in books. He then spends time with a group of Benedictine monks, finally making his way to India. At each stop people are helping him learn the language, finding him lodgings, and encouraging him. What do they understand that the Americans did not?
Larry rejects the conventional life in search of meaningful experience. And in the end, he thrives and finds happiness and what he calls “freedom.” Those around him do not fare as well. They all suffer reversals in fortune. For Isabel it is losing her actual fortune. For Elliot, it is finding that on his death bed, all those high society figures he hosted and catered to over the years, none of them came to him. He was an extremely generous man, in spite of his snobbery, and yet it made no difference in the end. Only Larry, who has never cared what his clothes looked like, or how comfortable or fashionable his lodgings were, or who he knew and what gossip he’d heard, knew what would make him happy, make him comfortable, even if he was living off small wages doing manual labor. Unity with God, unity with creation, and unity with each other. The true intention of the Sabbath.
Dear Lord, show me the way. Show me how to be in unity with you and your creation. Teach me how to hold the Sabbath for you.
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