The mechanic came into the waiting room like a doctor speaking to family after a surgery. “How long has it been since you last got an oil change?” I knew that whatever I said, it’d apparently been too long. I knew there was enough oil in the car, but the extra miles had been breaking down the oil, making it less effective and causing some minor engine problems.
Knives need sharpening, routers need to be rebooted, factories go into shutdown for maintenance, retooling and reorganization. Why is it, then, that we sometimes don’t give ourselves the basic care we’d give the things we use everyday?
It’s not meant to be that way. Sabbath is not only built into the story of God’s creation of the world, but is one of the ten commandments that God gave to the people of Israel.
Sabbath is about rest, but it’s also about more than physical rest.
Sabbath interrupts our regular rhythm of life, breaks it, allows us to step back from it so that we can remember some key truths about ourselves.
- Our value is in more than what we produce or what we do. The sun will rise without us, God will provide what is needed if we trust Him.
- We can get so busy with life we lose perspective on what is really important or how to balance the different parts of our lives.
- We can even get so busy doing things for God that we forget how to be with God.
- Sabbath applies both to what we do as individuals and our life together in community.
We are a busy church; we have a lot of great things going on: classes and groups for Bible Study and spiritual growth. We have lots of opportunities for service and for connecting with each other. Our calendars are full.
And yet at the same time, the Diaconate and I have been noticing a sense that with all of the things we are doing and would like to do, we as a whole are getting out of balance. We see people getting tired. We see the frustration when ministries struggle to find leaders and volunteers. The ministry and the life we’re called to is difficult at times, but ultimately it’s meant to bring life, not leave people feeling drained and disconnected.
As our Diaconate has been prayerfully discussing this, we have come to a clear sense that God is leading us to create a space for us to rest, re-focus and reconnect as a church.
Which brings us back to the concept of Sabbath together. The Diaconate and I want to extend the call to the church body to participate in a time of intentional Sabbath during the months of November, December and January.
This would mean temporarily stepping back from much of what we normally do as a church (our meetings, small groups, activities and so on), and simplifying what we do in order to help us slow down and listen for where God is really calling us to invest our lives, where our lives have become out of balance, and where we need to open our lives to God’s healing and direction.
In addition to providing resources for personal prayer and ideas for rest, our intention is also to create open opportunities for people to come and pray together before worship, and to connect with one another on Wednesday evenings as a time to connect and encourage one another in faith. In February we will come back together to share what we’ve experienced and learned, and how we can apply that as we move forward.
In the month of October, we will be inviting your feedback and help in planning for this time, so that we can together discern what it means to do “simple” community in this time of Sabbath. Please feel free to contact the deacons or myself with any questions or thoughts as we move forward, and please keep us all in prayer as we listen for God’s presence in this time.
Blessings on the Journey,