US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Keep holy the Sabbath

By Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

As I sat alone this weekend my new (empty) apartment waiting for the movers to arrive, I read last week’s Entertainment Weekly. Affirming for me the wisdom of my husband’s and my decision to move (in our old apartment, thanks to its location, we found ourselves too often in our car or in front of the TV—while also on the computer or iPhone), was Mark Harris’s column, Taking Multitasking to Task. Harris proclaims he’s going on a media diet with one simple rule: “one screen at a time.” I immediately tore the page out and stuck it on the fridge, instituting the same rule in our new apartment.

After a week of following this rule, I’ve realized we need more. The timing is serendipitous, because from sundown this Friday to sundown Saturday is the National Day of Unplugging, a part of the Sabbath Manifesto project (a program of Reboot, the Jewish non-profit that re-imagines inherited traditions and culture in today’s narrative). The group is challenging people to avoid their cell phones, not turn on the TV, and sign off of Facebook and Twitter for 24 hours.

Simply unplugging our tech devices doesn’t plug us back into God, especially when technology can be good for our spirituality, keeping us connected to family and other people of faith. But Reboot’s initiative has more in mind. “The National Day of Unplugging is really about recognizing that it’s important to take a pause from technology—to reconnect to people who are all around us but who are basically lost in the noise of the relentless deluge of information,” says Tanya Schevitz, National Communications Coordinator.

Of the 10 principals of the Sabbath Manifesto, only two are “don't's.” The rest are “do's,” which include “light candles,” “go outside,” and “give back.”

While the “principles were created for individual styling,” they’re great guidelines for re-centering, being thankful, and engaging in the gift of creation. In other words, keeping the Sabbath holy.

I've just signed up, and think I've found a new way to practice the day of rest.