Two Sabbaths

Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time.  It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world.

The seventh day is a palace in time which we build.

– Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath, p. 10, 15 (original emphasis)

Last night a few folks from our congregation attended a synagogue for a joint service project.  As part of the evening, we celebrated the end of the Jewish Sabbath.  I was moved by the liturgy relating to the mourning of the passing of the Sabbath.  The intensity of this rabbi’s love for sacred time was evident in his enthusiasm and reminded me of an experience I had in the Salt Lake City temple.

When you walk down the stairs from the Celestial room (the high sanctuary), there is a painting of Adam and Eve being driven out of the garden.  It perfectly captures the emotion of the descent from the sacred and a return to mortality.  I empathized with the rabbi who mourned the passing of sacred time.  But the Sabbath and the Temple are two manifestations of the same experience.

Mormons (rightly) emphasize the sacredness of Holy Temples, and speak of the perspective one can receive by ascending above the fray of the mundane, by separating ourselves from all worldly distractions and enjoying unspeakable peace in a place designed for such experiences.  But the Sabbath should be equally reverenced as sacred time when we can enjoy those same blessings.  The purpose is identical:  to remove ourselves from the taxing burdens of our worldly existence and enjoy a taste of Eternity.

Who wouldn’t mourn the descent from such a sacred feast only to return to toil for that which moth and worm corrupt.

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