Parish Link - August 2023

What has religion ever done for us?

What has religion ever done for us?

Dear Friends,

If anyone asks, ‘What has religion ever done for us?’, I would like to remind them that our religious heritage is directly responsible for our holidays. You don’t have to be an etymologist to observe that the word ‘holiday’ derives from ‘holy days’.

The holiday as a time of rest and relaxation is pivotal to the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is so important, that it is introduced on the very first pages of the Bible, as one of the very first things we learn about God: God worked for six days, creating the world, and then he took a ‘holiday’ to enjoy what he had made. The Sabbath day.

Hence, the Ten Commandments prescribe that on each seventh day both slave and master are to enjoy rest: ‘Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy’. Even the working animals and the land itself, the very soil, enjoy a break from agricultural activity.

There is an old Jewish tale about what will happen when we die and meet God. The story goes that God will ask us three questions: Firstly, what have we done right in our life? What was good? Secondly, what have we done wrong in our life? What was bad? But, thirdly, God will ask us this: Have you enjoyed the world I made for you? Have you counted your blessings? Have you lived life to the fullest? Or have been too busy for that?

Holidays aren’t optional. We all deserve a break. Watching the sunset with a nice glass of wine nurtures deep feelings of gratefulness within us. We rest and relax, and thank God for the sun, the beaches, and all the good and beautiful things he made. And that’s just one thing ‘religion’ has done for us. Enjoy!

Love and prayers

Revd Johannes Nobel