Soul Care and Sabbath Rest
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
– Exodus 20:8-11
Everybody needs a little time away. It’s good for the soul. I will be spending a large portion of the month of August away from church enjoying Study Leave and vacation. We will travel to New Mexico and visit the Shearer family. We hope to spend time in the mountains at our family cabin. I have a stack of books I hope to read through. I have pastor friends and extended family with whom we want to share meals and pool parties. It will be a time to enjoy some sabbath rest before the start of the school year and church programs.
In my absence, Pastor Ashley will lead the sermon series, Soul – Care: Unlocking the Heart of Sabbath. I’m not always good at resting. It feels strange and “unproductive”. I like the sense of accomplishment for a job well done. I like the act of crossing off the tasks on my “to-do” list. Just resting and letting things happen is uncomfortable – mostly because it feels like I’m not in control. As I have shared before, that desire to control the situation, or people’s emotional responses, is strong for me. In the act of leaning in and resting, experiencing sabbath, we realize that the facade that we are ever “in control” of anything is simply a ruse and that we don’t have control over most of what we thought. Perhaps that is the gift I’m praying for this month of August, the ability to “let go, and let God”; to not feel so responsible for all the people, things, and situations around me.
The gift of sabbath is intended to be a blessing of restoration and creativity. The gift of sabbath is God’s way of reminding us that we are more than what we DO. Please join me in resting this month. Please also keep my family in your prayers as we travel and enjoy some special time away.
Lord of all creation, you have given us the ten commandments, and yet so often we manage to get it wrong. We misuse your name on an almost daily basis, and dishonor our friends and neighbors by talking behind their backs. We hunger for what others have, and think we can put you in a box, storing you away on a shelf. We find little enough time for our families, for ourselves, you – much less setting aside an entire day for that rest you call Sabbath. Forgive us, O God. We think we are so wise with the choices we make, only to end up with all that keeps us from you. Your Word has come, to fill our speech with grace, with hope, with peace. As we embark on our Sabbath journey with you, may we invite others to join us as we seek to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior. Amen.