Dear Sabbath Seekers,
It isn’t often that during the opening remarks of a church service, I hear the words “We are under a Tornado watch right now, folks, and we have people watching the news. They will tell us if we have to move to the basement.” I can tell you that it was one church announcement I actually listened to and heard!!!
And try as I might to focus on the service, I found myself wondering how all the people would exit the sanctuary, get down the stairs and into the basement in time if a tornado hit. You see I am not from Tornado country. I come from blizzard country where we either have days of warning and a choice to stay home or it hits fast and we just stay put. But a tornado is a whole different breed of storm in my book. They just plain scare me. (I’m also not used to being in a church service with hundreds of people either). I know they can come out of a thunderstorm at a rapid pace and often there is little time to take cover before the freight train winds blow everything down in their path.
The distraction of the pastor’s announcement also showed me how quickly fear can interfere with my worship/Sabbath time. The very God I am worshiping is the God who says over and over (365 times to be exact) “be not afraid”; and yet, I was afraid and I was not worshiping. I was worrying. It can also be true when I don’t take Sabbath moments because I am too busy doing other things (which I would worry about if I weren’t doing them) or I let distractions invade my heart, mind and soul instead of giving them over to God and finding the peace that only God can bring. The connection was not lost on me, tyvm, God.
“Martha, Martha (or Nancy,Nancy)”, Jesus says, “you are worried and distracted by so many things. Mary has chosen the better course and it will not be taken away from her.” Sitting in worship, at the feet of Jesus, and being distracted by a potential weather threat put me right in the story with Martha, Mary and Jesus. And once again I saw myself aligned with Martha rather than Mary.
How many more times will I let my own fears, worries or distractions take the better course be taken from me?
The good news is that the setting of worship won me over and I soon forgot about the weather threat and focused on why I was there. And it really is true that there is a peace that passes all understanding when my heart, mind and spirit turned toward Jesus.
This was a good lesson for me not only for the next tornado watch but for the next time I feel too distracted to enter into some Sabbath time with God.
“But there is something that I am looking for: a person plain and simple, reverently responsive to what I say.” Isaiah 66.2b The Message