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

Archive for January, 2015

Pastrix

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I have just finished reading Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber.  If you have never heard of Pastor Nadia before, she is the tattooed, irreverent, profound, deeply spiritual, constantly seeking answers to theological questions that most of us are too shy to ask or attempt to answer for ourselves pastor and my new hero.  I want to be like her or at least be a better human being as a pastor and a better pastor as a human being because of her audacity. 

Her book hooked me from the introduction and it was hard to put it down.  She reminded me of why I answered the call of God and she convicted me that I had gotten lazy in my answer. 

And some of you will find her irreverence and audacity heresy.  However, I am proclaiming out loud that I did not.  I found her a breath of fresh air in the midst of spiritual crises, clap trap that passes as gospel and theological wrestling matches.  I found her real. 

She inspired me more than anything I have ever written or read before to maintain and increase my Sabbath moments, to open myself up more to God in my day-to-day life, and to let go of the should’s, platitudes and pat answers that invade my mind when I let down my guard against theological cotton candy and the party line. 

Here is a quote that stopped me in my reading:  “We are tempted to doubt our innate value precisely to the degree that we are insecure about our identity from, and our relationship to, God.” (page 139).

This sentence sums up the contradiction I often feel and hear many times from others.  I/we feel that we cannot be close to God because we are not good enough or we messed up so we avoid hanging out with God and talking to God.  She turns that upside down and says unless we are close to God and realize we are a beloved child of God’s without doing anything on our part to earn it, we will feel insecure about our worth and who we are.

Sabbath is not only God’s gift of rest to us but it is also God’s way of helping us be closer to God developing a strong sense of self in order to know and claim that we are truly a child of God.  The more we claim that, the more the world will be changed by our very presence. Woman praising and enjoying golden sunset

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”  Mt. 5.14 The Message

Blessings,

Nancy

PS I am a Pastrix too defined by New Wineskins Dictionary.com as 1) a term of insult used by unimaginative sections of the church to define female pastors; 2) Female ecclesiastical superhero: Trinity from The Matrix in a clerical collar; 3) cranky, beautiful, faith of a Sinner and a Saint.

PPS:  Don’t forget to order your copy of my book:  A Sabbath Journey – a little child shall lead them to use as a monthly devotional book that will give you lots of ways to experience Sabbath Moments throughout the year.  It is available through Amazon.com  

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Stress and Sabbath

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

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Yesterday I heard a sermon that talked about how Sabbath is God’s antidote to stress.  Sabbath is a once a week cleansing of our stress levels if we are obedient in taking one.  He detailed all the things we know all too well about life.  It’s busy.  It’s fast and it is stressful.  No matter who you are, no matter your stage in life, no matter your station in life, no matter your gender…if you are alive, you have stress.  Some of it is good and some of it harms us.  Y’all know that.

However, he turned a phrase that made my ears perk up.  He said something like if we run our stress through a Sabbath we end up with strength.  The image came to me of Sabbath as a giant colander or machine that we could put our stress in one end and wait for the strength to come out the other end.  Or, like going to the hairdresser and saying give me a fresh look and after a little shampoo, color and trim, voila there you are all refreshed and feeling good.fashion-hair-salon-office-for-lady-gentleman-version-top-hair-game-art-work

Taking time on Sabbath to just rest, do nothing and let God refresh us does make us feel stronger the next day.  Mondays after a particularly restful Sunday can find me energized and ready to move into the week.

On other hand, without rest after a busy week my stress simply becomes strain on me, my energy and definitely goes with me into the next week leaving me with far less strength than I need to be productive.

God knew what our bodies, minds and spirit would need after navigating the ups and downs of life each week.  So I wonder why we think we know more than God and ignore that wonderful gift of a Sabbath day’s rest?

My four-year-old granddaughter served as my mentor on learning what Sabbath could be like.  I chronicled my experiences with her in a book I just published called “A Sabbath Journey – a little child shall lead us.”  It is now available on Amazon if you are interested in a monthly devotional book that allows you time to reflect each week and try a new approach to Sabbath taking.  I hope you will check it out and enjoy.

http://www.amazon.com/Sabbath-Journey-little-child-shall/dp/1502926067/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421689012&sr=1-1&keywords=a+sabbath+journey

Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11.28

Blessings,

Nancy

Second Sabbath

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Tomorrow is the second Sabbath of the New Year and so far I must say I am doing quite well maintaining a Sabbath observance.  Last Sabbath after worship I enjoyed a luscious nap, nappinga good book, a good meal and good company.  The second Sabbath of the year will most likely not include a nap.  However, the good meal and good company are on the agenda following worship and without getting too far ahead of myself I will go so far as to say “two for two, woohoo!”

calendar 2015Maintaining a Sabbath attitude for 52 weeks may be a challenge for those of us not used to taking a 24 hour Sabbath – understatement of the year!  And yet, I can see how having a clear intention, making sabbath plans ahead of time, and then following them makes Sabbath keeping more enjoyable.  Just like God intended for those who were called to keep the Sabbath holy.  A day of rest before the work week begins again really does make a difference in my energy level – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. 

What I hope to do this year…beyond try…is to be intentional about taking a Sabbath day a week.  Initially, I am starting with Sunday but I will allow for the possibility that it could become another day of the week.  However, my goal is one Sabbath a week regardless of the day.  This is a big jump for me from Sabbath moments stolen throughout the day…although those are still good and better than no rest with God. 

It’s in print and it’s out there in cyberspace where you can hold me accountable.  Anyone want to join me?  Do you have an accountability partner?  I would love to hear from you about how you spend your Sabbaths over the next year.  Let me know in the comment box and we can learn from each as well as encourage each other.  I’ll post some of the most creative and restful ones.

As I think ahead to December 27, 2015, the last Sabbath in the year, I want to be accomplished at Sabbath keeping, calmer, filled with peace and hope, and walking a much gentler path in the world.  What about you? 

“Tell the Israelites, ‘Above all, keep my Sabbaths, the sign between me and you, generation after generation, to keep the knowledge alive that I am the God who makes you holy.  Keep the Sabbath; it’s holy to you.” Exodus 31.12-13

Blessings,

Nancy

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