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

Posts tagged ‘peace’

An Anagram Sabbath

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Do you like anagrams?  What is an anagram for silent?  It’s listen. In the book of James we read that we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.  It is hard to listen without being silent.  Steps to the sun

I must say that in today’s world listen and its anagram silent get lost in the noise out there whether it be on the 24 hour news cycle, Facebook, blogs, or talk radio.  It seems these days we only listen in order to react and quickly get angry.cat th

And as with other biblical passages that we conveniently want to ignore in order to do things our way either by satisfying our ego’s need to be right or our first amendment need to be free to say what we want, this passage from James is counterculture.

Sabbath, too, is counterculture.  Who has time these days to take a 24 hour rest?  We are too busy with all our speaking, doing and trying to get ahead.  And yet, let’s be clear that Sabbath was a way for God to break through our egocentric existence and command us, yes, command, to be quiet and let silence do the heavy lifting for 24 hours.  (BTW I continue to be amazed at the number of Christians who state publicly that don’t like God telling them what to do! ??????????????????????????????They are pretty clear that they know what is better for them than God does…but I digress).

Without Sabbath not only do we never stop but the noise never stops either.  We stay continually off-balance listening for the next news break, comment on Facebook or ad hominem attack on the radio.  There is no time to listen to God, to our souls, to our inner wisdom.  If the world is any indication of what happens when we don’t take Sabbath time, then I say we should start obeying that fourth commandment ASAP!

Why not take James to heart this week – be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger?  Make it a Sabbath commitment to honor God and yourself. balance stones

              “Be still and know that I am God”  Psalm 46.10

Nancy

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Easter: The Ultimate Sabbath

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

holy bible

I’ve said it before and I will say it again.  Easter is the ultimate Sabbath.  It is a day we observe as a high Holy Day.  It is a day we remember what God has done for us.  It is a day we rejoice and greet with cheers and Alleluia’s.  It is a day we dress up in new clothes especially purchased for this time. Easter bonnet It is a day we worship.  It is a day we spend with friends and family.  It is a day of special food and intentional table fellowship.  It is a day when we acknowledge that the past is over and the new has begun not just for a week but for a life time.  All the things that a traditional weekly Shabbat does.

Yes, it is the ultimate Sabbath.

May Easter bring you peace, rest and joy and may it remind you that you truly are part of something bigger, more powerful and life-giving than we, as humans, could ever imagine.

Fake Butterflies

“Death swallowed up by triumphant Life!  Who got the last word, oh, Death?  Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?”  1 Cor. 15.35 The Message

Blessings to you, Easter People, and Blessed Sabbath,

Nancy

Pressure Valve

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Have you ever used a pressure cooker?  pressure cooker binatone-4955-95647-1-zoomI am sure some of you have.  For those who haven’t it is a cooking pot that has a pressure gauge on it that you set before you begin cooking in it.  If you don’t set it right or you forget about it, you will soon find the contents of your supper all over the ceiling.  BOOM!

pressured personWell, I had a pressure cooker kind of week.  My emotional, mental and physical contents were under pressure and I knew if I didn’t do something about it soon, I was going to BLOW.

New Year's BangAnd then came Sabbath.  I needed Sabbath. I needed alone time with God.  ALONE.TIME.WITH.GOD.  Fortunately, I realized it.

On this Sabbath I allowed myself to become a human being rather than a human doing who takes little breaks throughout the day and calls it Sabbath.  It was Sabbath of home church.  It was a Sabbath of tea and scripture. 65147-stock-photo-blue-relaxation-dark-style-moody-artIt was a Sabbath of naps and dreams.  It was a Sabbath that let the pressure out slowly and let my contents simmer and then cool perfectly.

The story doesn’t end there.  The reasons I felt like a pressure cooker whose gauge was broken were still there on Monday morning.  I knew I had to address the issues or the pressure was going to build up again.

Because of my Sabbath experience instead of blowing up all over the room and the other person, I was able to have a calm, clear, clean conversation. 

RelaxationGod’s gift of Sabbath truly brings peace and refreshment when I (we) are able to recognize it for what it is. 

Now, if I am only smart enough to remember this the next time the pressure cooker is ready to blow.

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

Blessings,

Nancy

Sabbath Moments and Peace

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

It’s good to be back on-line with you.  My time in Puerto Rico performing the wedding of a darling couple was great despite my itchy legs.  BTW I have a solid diagnosis now, I hope.  My dermatologist says it was poison ivy on a steroid rebound.  It seems the Urgent Care Dr. missed the diagnosis and then ‘woefully’ under treated it.  As a result the lower dose of steroid caused it to get worse.  It seems to be on the mend now and I credit the salty water of the Atlantic Ocean for a lot of that healing…thank you all for your concerns, comments and prayers. 

This week I am back home in Western New York.  It has been a bittersweet time.  We have put our house on the market and hope to find a maintenance free condo in Rochester.  Moving out of a home after 20 years conjures up memories and begins the goodbye process to a home that has been good to us.  And the memories go with us. 

A far harder goodbye took place yesterday when I said goodbye and God speed to a dear friend who is dying of cancer.  She is at peace and looking forward to her new adventure as she transitions from this life to the next.  I, on the other hand, am selfishly sad to be losing a friend who has brought me joy, grace, love, laughter and a great deal of wisdom through her keen mind and deep faith.  The world needs more people like her not less. 

I share all these tidbits from my life this week because there is a Sabbath Moment thread that runs through all of it. 

Time, sharing, and relationships are the essence of Sabbath Moments.  The time we spend with God in sharing our lives, fears, joys, sorrows and confusion brings us into a closer relationship with God that in turn brings us a peace that passes all understanding in the midst of life’s ups and downs. 

My relationship to the bride in Puerto Rico began when she was a member of my church as a little girl.  Our journey together was one of discovering who God was in her life and that discovery forms who she is today.  Your prayers and concern for my strange outbreak is a result of our time together sharing these moments and a love of a God we know and trust.  Leaving our home to establish a new one reminds me that things are always changing but through it all God is with us.  And my dear friend’s last few days are filled with a sacredness and peace that comes only from spending intentional time with a God of love, mercy, compassion and justice.  (Her favorite words). 

Life can be a series of Sabbath Moments that bring us a deep and abiding peace so we can say “all is well with my soul.”

Treasure, guard, and be intentional with your time with God this week.  You never know when you will need to draw on that assurance of God’s presence, love and truth.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”  Horatio Spafford

“And a storm and wind came down the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger.  And they went and woke him saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; and they ceased, and there was a calm.  He said to them “Where is your faith?”  And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even wind and water and they obey him.”  Luke 8.23-25

Blessings and peace,

Nancy

Sabbath Moment Reboot

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Happy New Year!  I hope your holidays were joyful and that you were able to experience friends, family and faith in meaningful ways.

For many of us this holiday season was muted by the tragedies in Newtown, CT and Webster, NY.  I found it hard to feel lighthearted and merry this year as my heart ached for those families who were living through their worst nightmares.   However, there was a deep inner joy that was present because of the reason for the season – God’s sending of his light into a world of darkness so many centuries ago.   And that joy cannot be changed regardless of external circumstances.  I have learned that I can be sad and still have joy in my heart because of my faith.  My inner joy of faith is not the same as feeling happy.

And, perhaps, because this year’s circumstances left me so unhappy about the culture we live in, the increasing lack of respect for human life and the horrific nature of the loss around me, I found my joy a rock upon which to stand, actually, to cling. 

This joy is not a pollyanna-ish joy that just skips along on the surface with a la-de-da and fair-thee-well attitude.  This joy has taken years to develop and grow.  This joy is the result of walking with God and knowing that no matter how awful the world treats me or each other that God is the constant beacon of light calling me forth to be more than I think I can be.  This light shines on the darkness and shows me the shadows in areas that need  improvement.  Improvement that can only come from the outpouring and sharing of love.

The tragedies have shown us how incredibly good, gracious and generous people can be.  We have truly witnessed far more than  just the evil side of human nature.  There has been an outpouring of love, support, and offers of help from total strangers to total strangers who are now friends because of the love modeled and given to us by God. 

How does all of this connect to Sabbath Moments?  Without taking time out of our busy days and weeks to sit with God, to talk to God, to walk with God, we cannot know this joy and peace that comes in the midst of sadness and chaos.  Like any relationship we need to stay connected to God in order for our understanding and appreciation of the other to develop into trust. 

What is your commitment to growing your relationship with God this year?  Have you been a little lax in taking Sabbath Moments lately?  Now is the time to reboot your spiritual core and make time for God.  The tragedies are not over I am sure.  Grief, pain, death and evil are not going away anytime soon.  However, we do have the opportunity to build up our defenses against them and to be in relationship with the one whose love never ends and whose arms fiercely and tenderly hold us in our sorrow. 

How will you jumpstart your spiritual batteries this week?  May I suggest sitting and meditating on this passage:

“You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.  I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid.  You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.”  Psalm 23.3b-4 (CEV)

Blessings on your journey,

Nancy

The Edge of the Cliff

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Lookout Mountain, TN is 1300 feet above Chattanooga and it is beautiful.  It is also the site of a bloody Civil War battle.  In Point Park the only Civil War monument depicting a Union and a Confederate soldier shaking hands stands in the center.   Because it was erected by the State of New York, it is called the New York Peace Monument.

At the Point you can look down on Chattanooga, the Tennessee River and see for miles.  It really is breathtaking BUT nowhere near as breathtaking, literally, as the ride up the mountain on the Incline Railway.  Climbing a 72% grade, the train feels like it is going straight up.  You can imagine what the ride down feels like!

All of this is to say that being up on that mountain cliff gave me a perspective that I cannot even imagine at sea level.

It reminded me how immense this world is and how small I am.  It reminded me that  when I am in the midst of ‘stuff’ I cannot see the big picture.  It reminded me that  being lifted up literally lifts my spirits.  It reminded me how important it is for me to get out from under the stressful issues of  life and see with new eyes the possibilities that lay before me.

And as so often happens when I step away from myself, it became Sabbath for me.

Not only was I standing on holy ground hallowed by the blood and prayers of so many dying men, I was standing on ground now marked for peace.  From the vantage point of this cliff it felt like I could just reach up and touch God’s hand.  Below me was God’s handiwork and I, in the middle, was surrounded by God.

Sabbath is meant to be a day when we wrap ourselves in God’s presence.  It is meant to be a day of peace and rest, of beauty and joy, of man and God.  It is meant to be a day to take your breath away and fill your lungs with the Spirit of God.

Where do you go to be lifted up into the presence of God?   How does God show you a new perspective, a new vantage point, from which to see your life in perspective?

Find that place this week and let God take your breath away and remind you who is the Creator of your life.

“I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths…”  Psalm 30.1

Blessings,

Nancy

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