The command to keep the Sabbath occurs as the 4th command in the Ten Commandments. There it refers to the seventh day of the week and is kept by resting from one’s labors. But that is just the beginning of the notion of Sabbath, for every seventh year is the Sabbatical year, and every fiftieth year the Jubilee year (7 times 7 years plus one). All in all the Sabbath laws are well worth learning and observing for in them one will find a key to personal well being and the foundations for a more just, equitable, and peaceful society, not to mention a way to live in harmony with the natural world.
At first one may think the Sabbath is burdensome since one must refrain from so many activities that seem to give our life its purpose. But this refraining proves to be a form of restraint that allows for receiving things (and people) as they are with out any desire to fix or change them. It allows for the “otherness of things” as one of my former professors, Diogenes Allen, defined love in his book by that title. Or, it allows for us to receive another as “thou,” as Martin Buber expressed it in his book, I and Thou. This too is love and it takes us far beyond purpose into the realm of meaning.
I trust the reader will see in these 28 journal entries my love for this land and its people. No doubt you will also discover that I could not maintain the Sabbath mindset throughout for I do comment on things and people I would like to fix or change given a chance. But when I was in the Sabbath mindset I merely took in all that I saw and heard and at the end of the day digested it as best I could. Thus the format of this journal is to write first about what I did and where I went each day and then to record a few of the thoughts that occurred to me throughout the day.
I spent most of every day alone but was never lonely. I was too engaged to be so. And of course, I had the company of the Spirit within me. Thus, you will note my references to praying in tongues as I walked from site to site or sat for a time at various locations. For those readers who are unfamiliar with tongues it is a prayer language manifest by the Spirit. I think of it as the lazy man’s form of meditation for it requires no effort other than moving one’s tongue and allowing the Spirit to pray through one’s voice (or under one’s breath). It can be sustained as long as one’s strength endures and the effect of it is to bring one to peace. That I found invaluable in this land where everywhere there are signs asking that we pray for peace and there is very little of it to be found.