The 1981 Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire portrayed British Olympic runner Eric Liddell and his refusal to participate in the 100-yard dash during the 1924 Olympics.
As a devout Christian, he believed that competing on Sunday would be a violation of the Sabbath. I venture to say that many Christians these days would probably judge his position as being a bit strict and legalistic — that perhaps he could have interpreted the fourth commandment a bit more liberally.
But the question needs to be asked: Have we swung too far in the other direction? As work days and work weeks consume most waking hours, as lives have become increasingly governed by electronic gadgets, as “fun” has become the top priority for families and sports upheld as sacred, has the Sabbath been pushed to the margins?
Jesus taught that “The Sabbath was made for humankind.” (Mark 2: 27a)
God made the Sabbath so that we could find rest, replenishment and peace. God intended Sabbath as a time to be in communion with God and with each other. And God didn’t offer Sabbath as a suggestion, but rather commanded it.
Most of us are aware that missing Sabbath, a sacred day of rest, is detrimental to our physical and emotional well-being. The fourth commandment reveals to us that it is also sinful.
Thomas Keeley is minister at Benediction Lutheran Church