Thursday, April 14, 2011

Remember the Sabbath

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work--you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. Exodus 20:8-11

My dear friends, it seems God is stirring within me a conviction to remember the sabbath and keep it holy. I am finding this rather difficult. It seems that there just aren't very many of God's children who are remembering the sabbath and keeping it holy, and I believe this breaks God's heart. You might ask why? After much time wrestling with this issue, I finally decided to just ask God, "Why would you command your people to remember the sabbath and keep it holy?" And God's response was, "Because I am God and you are not!" 

I believe that God has been trying to restore his rightful place in my life and that he wants to do that also within his Church and indeed with all his children. Remembering the sabbath and keeping it holy forces us to stop all our doings and remember that God is God and we are not! It sort of puts us in our rightful place in God's created order. Surely if God can stop and rest on the seventh day of the creation process, then we can do the same. We simply have to trust that God will hold together our world (our congregations, our families, our jobs, etc.) while we remember the sabbath and keep it holy. The ancient church called the practice of remembering the sabbath and keeping holy as sabbath keeping.

I am finding it very difficult to practice sabbath keeping as it seems there are obstacles at every turn; however, I am finding that the first and most difficult obstacle to overcome has been myself. I have had to learn that my work and the ministries in which I am involved will not fall apart if I don't attend to them on the sabbath. I had to learn to trust that when I am practicing sabbath keeping authentically that God will hold everything together. More importantly, I have come to see that since I have begun practicing sabbath keeping my marriage and my family have been much stronger and healthier.

I invite you to consider sabbath keeping -- to find your own way to do so. You may have to be creative and it will likely be very difficult because you will find, as I have, that sabbath keeping goes against not only our human nature but is also very counter-cultural (and likely even counter-cultural within your own congregations). I have found the practice of sabbath keeping to be very worth all my efforts.

What about you? Will you join me in restoring the practice of sabbath keeping?

Grace and Peace to you, my friends, as we continue our journey through Lent.

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