John Steward of Jesus
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Lunar Sabbath

Since my previous response regarding the lunar sabbath I have had a night of rest. But my subconscious seemed to be focused on the topic for much of the time. Part of the reason is that grasping a new idea excites me as much as grasping a new paint brush or a new hammer. But it seems that another part of the reason is that my subconscious was aware that finding the right day for rest might be no easier on a lunar calendar than on the current calendar, and warning me not to expect better results on that trail.

However one thinks of a calendar, to think of a seventh (sabbath) day one needs to somewhere posit a first day. That can be done through one's own calculation and observation, or by accepting facts passed along in a community. On a lunar system, the first day needs to be established every fourth week by observation of the moon, because it is never certain whether it is after the 29th day or after the 30th day. If one is relying on a scientific chart showing which it will be, it would be just as reliable to use a printed calendar on a solar system of consistently spaced sabbaths. The only pretended advantage of a lunar system would be in primitive conditions where no prepared chart of the months was available. Because the sighting of the moon is necessary at the beginning of each month, a cloud covering at that time would throw the whole month's celebration of sabbath into uncertainty. It could be a day or two off, and not on "God's time." As I said before, I have lived in places where this would happen often.

Furthermore, on whatever system one depends, one must tally the seven day sequence, whether with the aid of written records and calendars, or without them and only mental awareness. On the "solar system" there is generally an easily confirmed understanding of whether it's the second or fourth day of the week, whatever they're called. Some people look at a calendar every day to confirm this awareness. Others are intuitively aware of it without ever looking at confirming evidence. It seems to work. I haven't heard of people living in such communities getting confused as to the day of the week. It may be a different matter for those living in isolation.

But if someone living in isolation is not able to remember the day of the week under the system which many have used for hundreds of years, it seems to me it would be even more difficult for that same person under a lunar system. Because of the unpredictable irregularity, he would not be conditioned to a consistent seven day sequence. After observing the beginning of the month, he would need to tally a sequence of seven to the first sabbath observance, and then again to the next, for four weeks. If able to do it under a lunar arrangement, why not under a consistent sabbatical pattern? In summary, if someone can't keep a reliable tally of seven, what good does it do to be able to establish with certainty a first day? Under the commonly practiced consistent seven-day pattern, anyone interested in sabbath observance has learned of it from someone who has been aware of what today is in the cycle, or has himself grown up with this awareness. The only situation I can imagine where the lunar system would present a theoretical advantage would be for the man who fell out of an airplane onto an island, got knocked unconscious, and later awoke with an awareness that the sabbath must be observed, but forgetting where he was in the seven-day sequence, with nobody around to provide the information. Or perhaps the solitary occupant of an island who lost consciousness and later awoke. Oh, well, some risks need to be accepted. Or, perhaps, the Lord would be satisfied with a reckoning from the first day of restoration of consciousness.

I agree that a lunar system would be an obstacle to commercial integration with those in a solar calendar system. I agree also that this should not prevent anyone from doing what is understood to be the will of the Creator. I have heard of people who have difficulties because of consistent Friday or Saturday patterns of rest. But I haven't heard of those having difficulty because of sabbaths which come everywhere in the prevailing sequence of seven. Are they around today, and if so, where? Are there records of them over the years? If so, I have certainly been in ignorance.