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

Archive for February, 2014

The Lost Years

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Matthew 2There is a new book out called, 24/6: a prescription for a healthier, happier life by Matthew Sleeth, M.D.  I wish I had written it!  In this book, Dr. Sleeth, an emergency room physician, talks about the human body’s need for rest.  The beauty of the Sabbath commandment, according to Sleeth, is that God has given us a perfect prescription for our body and soul and we are take it one day a week.  Now that is really nothing new to those of you who read this blog regularly.

The need for and the power of Sabbath rest have not been downplayed here.  However, the concept of a 24 hour rest period is often downplayed, ignored and or dismissed as impossible for many folks living in the 21st century.

Many modern Christians balk at the thought of taking time off from their overcrowded schedules and adding Sabbath rest.  Plus for far to many Christians, Sunday mornings are anything but a time of rest.  Rather they are an extremely busy time if you are active in your church.  There may be early choir rehearsal, an after church meeting, Sunday School to prepare for, or a fellowship hour to set up.  The pastor isn’t the only one who comes home from church in need of a nap.  We have created some strange and mixed messages about Sabbath.

For the first time there is a generation growing up without knowing that once upon a time Sunday was a day of rest.  And the generation who grew up knowing about keeping Sabbath we have not done a very good job teaching our children to keep the fourth commandment.

We, as a culture, have subtracted rest from the week.  A rest commanded by God for our health and well-being.  It is here that Sleeth had me sitting up and taking a deep breath.  He writes:

“Subtracting a day of rest each week has a profound effect on our lives. How could it not? One day a week adds up. Fifty-two days a year times an average life span is equal to more than eleven years.  Take away eleven years of anything in a lifetime and there will be a change.  Subtract that over a decade of sleep, work, or education and the entire character of one’s existence is altered.”  (p.9)

Wow!  Let that sink in for a minute.  Imagine losing eleven years of rest and relationship with God.  It boggles the mind and it does have a profound effect on our bodies, minds, souls, and culture.

And I imagine that even though we are subtracting eleven years from our lives we are adding more than eleven years of stress, wear and tear on our bodies.

Take time for Sabbath this week.  A Sabbath of rest, worship, relaxation, family, friends and food.  Unplug from the world of electronic information and plug into a world of peace, joy, and love.  Show your children, grandchildren, family, friends, and community what they are missing. 

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Dt. 6.6-7

Blessings,

Nancy

Sabbath Friendships

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Two Familes Enjoying Meal In Alpine Chalet TogetherThe Shabbat meal is a time of sharing good food, conversation and remembering that none of us can make it on our own.  That is why family and friends attend.  God has put us here to be in relationship not just with God but with others as well.

The Torah and the New Testament are full of admonitions to love one another, care for one another, weep and/or laugh with one another, carry one another’s burdens, share possessions and sometimes even lay down our lives for friends.   

I can see why even when they were in exile it was important to keep the practice of Sabbath and the Shabbat meal alive whether there was a synagogue or a place in which to worship.  Staying connected to God and others was key to their survival and when it was ritualized in a meal it was easier to do. 

I was thinking about this during the past few days as I sat in a hospital with my husband.   It wasn’t a hospital we were familiar with nor did we know any of the doctors.  We are nine hundred miles away from our usual caregivers and, except for my daughter and a few new friends, we were away from the majority of our friends and family.  

And although this is a stretch of the usual Shabbat understanding, I did not feel alone because I was connected to God and to family and friends through social media.  Messages of support, prayer and encouragement connected me to others instantly.   It certainly would have been better to be face to face but it was better than feeling totally alone in a strange place.

Now, please don’t read this wrong. I am not advocating texting or Facebook as the new Shabbat tradition – not by a long shot.  What I am advocating is the development and strengthening of family and friendship ties so that sharing concerns and burdens can be done in any time and any place through any means. 

Sabbath is about strengthening relationship ties.  It is about stopping the hustle and bustle of life.  It’s about remembering and turning to the things that give life meaning and make sense out of the ups and downs we all face.  Unless we slow down, take a rest and connect or reconnect with the people and powers that give meaning to our lives, then we are just on one big treadmill that will grind us up and not miss us when we finally fall off from exhaustion. 

I hope you will spend some Sabbath time this week with those whom you share a life-giving bond.

“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” 

                                                                                                                        Prov. 17.17 The Message

Blessings,

Nancy

SURPRISED

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Yesterday afternoon I looked like thisBeautiful positive and casual woman expressing surprise.!  I was totally and completely surprised out of my skin and jumped high enough to prove it. 

Why?

Because as I was walking along a street in downtown Roswell, GA and approaching an art gallery that was having an exhibit of Dr. Seuss paintings,  one of  – what I thought were life-size stuffed props of  – The Sneetches handed me a flyer.  It scared the beejeebies out of me and everyone, including me, broke into uproarious laughter.   I did NOT see that coming!

It put me in a playful and silly mood and I was much better able to enjoy the exhibit knowing that Dr. Seuss  had once again brought out the child in me and made me laugh out loud. 

I sometimes wonder if that is how God meant for Sabbath to be…We go through our week, walking down the sidewalks of life, watching where we are going, all business, agendas and to do lists in hand, moving with intention and skill like all good adults do when all of a sudden after six days or six blocks of this journey, God hands us a flyer in a total unexpected way and we jump.  We are stopped in our tracks because we did not see it coming.  The flyer says “Come on in from your busy life and sit a while enjoying the beauty and fun of life”.

Suddenly, we are released from our concentration and tasks and laugh.  We are allowed to be playful and experience the joy and beauty around us from a new perspective. 

Now that is the kind of Sabbath that I could really enjoy.

BTW As we were leaving the gallery and walking down the street to our car, a gentleman came around the corner  and as he saw me, with a twinkle in his eye that looked oh so familiar, greeted me with a hearty laugh and asked “Having a great day?”  How did he know?

Let God surprise you this week with something out of the ordinary that makes you stop and smile or laugh and changes you from a human doing to a human being totally enjoying the God-given moment.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17.22

Blessings,

Nancy

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