Book Review: Sabbath as Resistance By Walter Brueggemann

By Citizens for Public Justice

From The Catalyst Summer 2014

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now
By Walter Brueggemann
Westminster John Knox Press, 2014

Reviewed by Genevieve Gallant

In Sabbath as Resistance, Walter Brueggemann continues his extensive scholarship on the Old Testament and the prophets in order to share a prophetic message about the life-giving role the Sabbath can play in our society of 24/7 consumption.

The endless demands of today’s economic reality, of achieving, accomplishing, performing, and possessing, leave us restless in the end. Brueggemann reminds us that this is not an unprecedented situation nor a new one.

This book is addressed to those who are weary and whose yokes are heavy. The great challenge is that to do Sabbath we need both enormous intentionality and communal reinforcement to resist the busyness and anxiety of our time. But it can be an act of testimony to alternatives and a resistance to the pervading values of profit if we can place ourselves in the memory of the covenant.

How we choose to live out the Sabbath today is left for us to decide. Brueggemann sets the stage for an excellent reflection of where we have come from, who has lead us here, and where we need to go. I appreciated his emphasis on the image of the God of Creation who embodies divine rest and who reminds us that “the well-being of creation does not depend on endless work.”

Sabbath reminds us of how we are to live life by gift. It can be a pause that transforms and a reminder that what is needed is given, and will be given, a message we so frequently need to hear.

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