For the busy person who wants to stay connected to God throughout the week!

Archive for April, 2013

Sabbath Moment Promises

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

This week I had what I thought was a very strange assignment in a class I am taking.   I was asked to make a promise to myself every day and then to journal about how it felt to keep it or not to keep it.  Furthermore, at the end of the week I was asked to reflect on what I wanted to stay the same, what I wanted more of and what I wanted to change in my life as a result.  What I thought was strange on the surface became a profound inner experience for me.

As the week began I noticed that my promises were really just part of my to do list.  “I promise to finish x”.  Or, “I promise to accomplish y.”  By mid-week I wasn’t sure this is what the assignment was about.  On Wednesday I switched from promises to do something to promises about how I wanted to be that day.  For example, “I promise myself that I will not lose my  temper, or judge someone today, or complain.”  Then, my promises became more positive…”I promise to enjoy myself in all things today.”  By the end of the week I noticed how much easier I was breathing, living and being.  The to do list was still there but my new promises gave me a new perspective with which to carry them out.

The Sabbath is a promise we can make to ourselves.  We can promise ourselves that we will stop, rest for a day or a moment in time.  It is a promise when kept that will change our perspective.  It is a moment in time when we realize that we are enough, that we are more than our to do lists or accomplishments and that the world will go on without our controlling any part of it.  It can be humbling to realize this and it can also be freeing.

But it is also an affirmation from God that we are enough – even at rest.  God says you have done enough for now, for this day, for this week.  You are enough just as you are and I grant you this time to rest, reconnect and re-create.  God invites us to come sit, talk and be in God’s presence for a time of peace and joy.  It is a promise from God and it can be our promise back to God that surely we will.  It is a promise that may sound strange in this day and age but it is a promise of a profound inner experience for those who keep it.  It is a promise that can change your life.

“For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant, Abraham.  He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy; he gave them lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for-that they might keep his precepts and observe his laws. Praise the Lord.”  Psalms 105.42-45

Blessings of promise to you,

Nancy

Advertisements

Sabbath Moment Peace

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

The violence continues in our world.  Whether it is Boston, Aurora, Tuscon, Newtown, Baghdad, New Delhi, New York City, or any small town or large country in the world, the violence continues.  Behind the violence is everything from anger to fear to mental illness to vengeance to religious beliefs, to economics, to the need for power…and probably many more human frailties we cannot quite understand or accept as reasons to kill innocent people.   If the violence comes because of a war, we label the innocents as collateral damage.  If the violence seems like a random act, we label the perpetrators and we put more and more restrictions in place.  Faced with such irrational behavior it is our attempt to control it and keep the general public safe.  And this is not a criticism of new safety procedures.  It is simply an observation.  We live in a violent world. 

Of course, it isn’t the world that is violent but the people who inhabit it.  I read once that in all of recorded history there has been only a total of 3 minutes when there wasn’t a war somewhere on earth.  We are a violent species.

So what does this have to do with Sabbath Moments, you ask?  It’s the individual aspect of violence and our response to it that draws me to Sabbath Moments.  For every act of violence and every horrible war ever fought there have been incredibly brave, compassionate people who have stepped in and stepped up to respond with love and kindness.  Somewhere inside these people is a sense of peace that moves them forward.

Where does this inner peace come from?  It comes from a sense of connection to something or someone bigger than themselves and bigger than any act of violence. 

I read angry Facebook posts every day.  I listen to angry on air personalities or politicians broadcast fear and lies to an already scared population and I wonder where is their peace?  Do they have any inner peace?  What is it that keeps them from offering love rather than hate? 

Spending daily time with God and letting God’s peace infuse our minds and hearts certainly is an antidote to all the anti-peace surrounding us.  It is our inner peace that will flow outward even in the midst of violence.  Jesus was clear that those who live by the sword will die by the sword, that we will reap what we sow, and that the peace the world offers is no match for the peace that he offers. 

It has been hard this week but I have stepped up my reading of those verses that talk about God’s love for all the world, that remind me that vengeance is God’s, and that if I want the peace that passes all understanding I have to keep my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  Spending time with the God of love in Sabbath Moments is a way to inner peace.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

                                                                                                                                                                         Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you.  Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going.  As you have the light, believe in the light.  Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives.  You’ll be children of light.”  John 12.35-36 The Message

May you have peace this week, my friends, may you find peace.

Nancy

Sabbath Moment Frame of Mind

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I traveled back to Western New York this week to see friends and family and I accomplished that goal.  In the 8 days I was home I shared 11 meals with friends and family members I have not had a chance to see much of in the last 9 months.  It was great fun even if not so good for my waistline. 

And I had the wonderful opportunity to worship with my church on Sunday experiencing a rabbi leading our music portion of the service.  We sang Psalms in Hebrew, literally gathered around a table to share communion, clapped to old spirituals, and  listened as the Word of God came to life in our midst.  What a treat to use the language of the Jesus as part of our worship and to have a rabbi connecting us to the tradition of our Lord.  It was a glorious way to start my week and it felt like the Sabbath celebration continued throughout the week.

Have you ever had a week like this where the Sabbath joy just flowed from one day to the next?  I know for me it was the sharing of time, conversation and meals with people I know and love that contributed to that feeling.  And, yes, I will admit I didn’t accomplish all the tasks I wanted to get done on this trip home, but looking back I realized that those chores will always be there for me to finish.  For now it is good that the relationships that mean so much to me sustained me in a Sabbath frame of mind.

It was a gift I had not expected; and yet, isn’t that what Sabbath is?  A gift we did not expect that sustains our spirits and fills us with joy and thanksgiving that God would love us so much to provide such an opportunity each week or each day if we choose it.

“Praise our God! His deeds are wonderful, too marvelous to describe…Let every living creature praise the Lord.”

Psalm 150.2,6

Blessings,

Nancy

Sabbath Moment Core

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Well, I have had the experience of simply moving and having my back lock up.  Not fun!  I have heard others tell of this phenomenon and wondered how that could happen if they were not doing anything unusual and now I know.  It just happens. 

Well, almost.  From talking to my chiropractor and physical therapist I have learned that it ‘just happens’ when your core muscles are not as strong as they should be.  Guilty.  Now I face a few weeks of therapy and the unpleasant addition to my wardrobe of a black back brace. 

I’ve been thinking about those core muscles and how I’ve let them become weak and soft and see clearly how the same thing can happen to my spiritual core.  When I go without a daily work out of my spiritual muscles, my faith core gets weaker.  Sabbath moments are one way to keep that core strong and as with any good exercise routine the increase in intensity builds stronger muscles. 

Taking a weekly 24 hour Sabbath would definitely be an increase in intensity for me, and I wonder if God knew that we would be stretched by taking a day off to exercise our spiritual muscles.   

As I am being pushed to stretch out my back muscles and strengthen my core, I am going to stretch myself to make my Sabbath Moments a bit more strenuous by digging deeper into the scriptures, reading authors who push me and who explore faith that goes beyond the surface “I believe, therefore I am saved” statements, being aware that my opinions are not necessarily those of the Bible and  entering in a dialogue with the passages that make me look closely at how I live out the teachings of Jesus. 

How about you?  Do your core spiritual muscles need a more vigorous workout?  If so, join me in a week of going deeper and getting stronger at our core.

“In  him we live, move and have our being.”  Acts 17.28

Happy Stretching,

Nancy

Tag Cloud