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

Posts tagged ‘family and friends’

If Not Now, When?

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

It’s not about doctrine.  It’s about relationships.  Leonard Sweet coined this a few years back in a book called, Out of the Question and Into the Mystery.  We have gotten so hung up on right thinking that we have forgotten about right relationship. How we respond to and interact with those around us speaks volumes about our faith as well as our own relationship with God.  For many people today there seems to be a disconnect between what we say we believe and how we treat others.   Bible closed with a chain lock

A few years back I had to come to terms with this in my own family.  A dispute over a will dredged up old wounds and slights which became the catalyst for fifteen years of silence between myself and others in my family.  Not one of my proudest moments but at the time I felt totally justified.  Funny thing about that self-righteous justification.  It went from feeling so good to feeling like a gnawing hole in my soul and one I tried my best to ignore.  Births and weddings went unacknowledged.  Connections were lost and relationships were badly injured. 

There was nothing scriptural or faithful about this family destroying feud.  And, even though, it took fifteen years, I finally had to come face to face with the disconnect that I created between what I professed to believe and how I was acting.  It became clear that I had to apologize for my part in this rending of the family fabric and I did.

Here’s the thing, though.  Only one of those involved accepted my apology.  Grateful for her grace, the fact was that the fabric was still torn.  In addition, a further tear occurred as anger was directed at her for reconciling with me.  Sigh….

And the final tear came with a death and the fabric in that relationship could never be repaired. 

Alan Paton said in Cry, The Beloved Country, that “the tragedy isn’t that things are broken.  The tragedy is that they are not mended again.”  broken heart

So what does this have to do with Sabbath keeping?  It’s not about doctrine. It’s about relationships.  The keeping of Sabbath is not about doctrine.  It’s about the relationship we have with God, maintaining that relationship and letting that relationship guide our decisions and actions.  The more deeply I became aware of the call of God on my life and in my relationships, the more deeply I heard and experienced the words love one another as I have loved you. The more deeply I was convicted by God’s grace that my faith and my life’s relationship had to be based on the love and reconciliation given to me, the more deeply I knew I had to live out that love and reconciliation with those with whom I was estranged.  

And as I shared it didn’t work out happily ever after.  What it did do, though, was bring me into congruence with my values based on my relationship with God.  My relationship was God was righted in my own heart. 

Don’t misunderstand this and attempt to reconcile with an abusive relationship – that cannot be of God or to put yourself into a one down position with anyone.  God created us and loved us equally.  No one better or less than. 

I realize that this moment in my life relationships and my relationship with God created a shift that informs my Sabbath time, my time set aside with God, which in turn informs my time with those that God has placed in my life.  And I remember…It’s not about doctrine.  It’s about relationships.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.”  1 Cor. 13.1



Sabbath Moments and Christmas

merry-christmas-4Dear Sabbath Seekers,

This will be my last post until the New Year. 

I am going to take an extended Sabbath to be totally present during Christmas to God, my family and friends.  After a year of practicing Sabbath Moments, I am ready to take it to the max!  It’s been a very busy year and especially the last 3 months.  Whenever I get busy due to circumstances, scheduling glitches, or life, I find I cannot be as fully present with the things and people who matter the most to me.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  That’s why taking Sabbath Moments is a good practice for me to stop and be present at least for a little while.

Now I am ready to extend that to a two-week period. 

Taking time to recoup, to sit quietly with God, to share intimate time with family and friends is a blessing I/we often ignore or refuse to take full advantage of.  Many of us feel we need permission to stop being busy or get sick so we don’t need permission. 

God gave us permission to do this once a week.  He commanded us to do it for 24 hours.  We took this great gift and said, “Thank you very much, but, um…I really can’t accept it.”  I can just see God shaking his head and saying, “Your loss. You really don’t know better than I do.” 

So for Christmas this year, how about we give God a smile and say “Thank you very much for this wonderful gift of Sabbath.  I will use it as if my life depended on it.”  (Which by the way it does.)

And in the midst of celebrating the gift of Emmanuel, the incarnation, you can begin by taking at least a 24 hour block of time to truly put Christ back into Christmas.  (It really has nothing to do with a phrase but action on our part.)

“Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath, that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days.  Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; not one is to go out.  So the people rested on the seventh day.’  Exodus 16.29-30

Merry Christmas and Happy Sabbath, 


Sabbath Moments and Feasting

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I truly hope your thanksgiving was a blessed day of family, friends and food. 

As we were gathered around the table sharing stories, laughter, conversation and way too much food, I realized it that this is what Shabbat meals are all about.  In celebration and remembering their Sabbath blessings, the Hebrews of early days, and many of today, gathered on Friday nights for a feast of food, family and friends.  (And this year our Jewish brothers and sisters in this country had the added celebration of Hanukkah.) 

It was/is a time of gratitude and reflection on all that God has done and provided for them.  Isn’t that what we are doing at Thanksgiving at its heart? 

It makes me wonder why we only do it once a year???

Perhaps adding a Shabbat meal at least once a quarter or even once a month will help us remember how blessed we are.   We don’t have to have family every time but we certainly need to share meals with those who touch our lives and gave us a chance to be in the presence of something bigger than we are.

“At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here; have some bread and dip it in the wine. Ruth 2.14






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