Saturday vs. the 1st Sabbath and Christian Sabbath
Originally published December 23, 2014 in the year of our lord. Senbet or the Sabbath is a time for extra recitation of and reflection upon God’s instruction(s) as revealed in the sacred scriptures. Emphasis on the Hebrew Bible would be especially apropos on Senbet. The subject of application for this instruction is always the contextual needy neighbor. Honoring Senbet is the number one topic and theme picked up in the hymnography of Holy Jared the Aksumite.
The Church Calendar is important, but self-evidently not dogma. It is a light, if used appropriately. The calendar permits us to put our neighbors before ourselves by communally fasting, feasting and giving alms. The calendar also keeps us honest. How often do we fast and give alms?
This past Christian Sabbath was Sibket, one of the nine minor holidays of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Sibket literally means sermon, and could dynamically be translated as Advent. This upcoming Christian Sabbath is the Bisrat celebration, another one of the nine minor holidays. Bisrat means annunciation/proclamation and is an occasion to remember the Archangel Gabriel telling the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. The Christian Sabbath after that will be Nolawee. Nolawee means pastor or shepherd. Then the Wednesday after that is Christmas. Glorify God, for He sent His one-of-a-kind Son into this world to redeem us.
Language is important. God created everything and everyone with words, and although the American adage goes, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," words hurt people seven days a week and twice on the Christian Sabbath.
A preacher of atheism points out that Saturday, Sunday and indeed all references to days in English are commemorations of pagan gods and goddesses. Now you see why I kept saying Christian Sabbath above. The solution is to translate the days as numbered and called in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. If nothing else, we should refer to our two weekly holidays by non-pagan names. We call Saturdays the Sabbath (senbet) in Ge'ez. And we call Sundays the Christian Sabbath (senbete kristeeyan) in Ge'ez. May God bless us in calling the days we publicly worship Him on by holier names, and sparking holy conversations with those who wonder at our diction and verbiage. May these conversations help us to change our pagan behavior of indifference toward our weaker neighbors, rather than just being more one more intellectual cupcake for our gluttonous egos.
P.S. If you understand Amharic the following two videos will be helpful in understanding how Christian the Ethiopian Orthodox Church's calendar is, as opposed to all of the pagan calendars found worldwide.
Megabé Hadees Rodas EOTC Calendar Part 1
Megabé Hadees Rodas EOTC Calendar Part 2
Furthermore, we must love each other.