Eutrapelia is an old, neglected human virtue identified by Aristotle that can lend understanding to the quality of authentic sabbath play. It derives from eutrepo, “to turn well’ It is a virtue reflecting mobility of soul, one that is able to turn to lovely, bright, relaxing things without losing authentic self in them. It is a capacity to turn deeds or words into relaxation. Eutrapelia lies between the debauched buffoon and the heavily serious boor. Freeing this virtue in sabbath time frees a quality of the image of God in us. It is that quality of end-in-itself joy that expresses the nature of God’s loving, which has no ulterior motive of any kind, In Proverbs we read of God’s personified wisdom:
Then I was beside him [God], like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race [human children].