Dorothy Sayers says that work is what we were put on earth to do.
And, personally, I want to agree with her. But supposing one accepts that definition of work, how then do we understand the Sabbath?
My hunch is that Sayers’ view actually exalts the Sabbath. If we see work as tedium and drudgery, then the Sabbath is simply recess. But if work is a good thing that we should draw joy and life from, then the Sabbath is much more than a recess. In his must-read book The Sabbath, Rabbi Heschel writes that we should consider the Sabbath in eschatological terms. For six days we work, but then the Sabbath is a rest, an anticipation of the World to Come. So we spend six days laboring toward that world and on the seventh we live as if it is already present.
My only reservation with the view is that the Sabbath is ordained pre-Fall, so it would seem that the work/Sabbath cycle is normative in creation, whether sin is present or not. With that reservation aside, however, I find Heschel’s idea very compelling.
So I’ll turn it over to the Mere O readers, assuming Sayers’ view of work is reasonably healthy, how then should we understand the Sabbath?