I had a vague understanding that in the Jewish faith the Sabbath was celebrated from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. (I was later to learn this understanding was very vague indeed!) I knew the Sabbath was not celebrated in the Anglican Church and instead the 'Lord's Day' was kept on a Sunday, but was often referred to as the Sabbath. Was there a choice in this? Was one day as good as another? Reading the Bible it seemed to me there was no choice. The Sabbath was created holy by God and it was our job to remember it and keep it holy.
To resolve the issue of timing I decided to see if I could feel the Sabbath. I was prepared to keep it and so it was in the vessel of willingness that I launched forth into the week, alert for any subtle changes that might be interpreted as clues. I was certainly not prepared for what happened. From noon Friday I began to sense a pull, a kind of suction, drawing me into a vortex of . . . what? Whatever it was, I knew I was entering the Sabbath, and it was wonderful! When I fetched up on its shores at around dusk that Friday, I wept. Thank you, God! O thank you! To be so blessed, and to know it, to live it. What a gift!
Much later I was to come across Rabbi Abraham Heschel's beautiful little book, The Sabbath, in which there is a story that confirmed my experience:
Once a rabbi was immured by his persecutors in a cave, where not a ray of light could reach him, so that he knew not when it was day or when it was night. Nothing tormented him so much as the thought that he was now hindered from celebrating the Sabbath with song and prayer, as he had been wont to do from his youth.
Beside this an almost unconquerable desire to smoke caused him much pain. He worried and reproached himself that he could not conquer this passion. All at once, he perceived that it suddenly vanished; a voice said within him: "Now it is Friday evening! for this was always the hour when my longing for that which is forbidden on the Sabbath regularly left me." Joyfully he rose up and with loud voice thanked God and blessed the Sabbath day. So it went on from week to week; his tormenting desire for tobacco regularly vanished at the incoming of each Sabbath. (Pages 21-22)