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

Posts tagged ‘reflection’

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

How Silently, How Silently

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

red bellsThe Christmas carols are playing everywhere you go these days except in many churches.  Church-goers complain mightily that the hymns during this time of the year are not Christmas carols and not ones they enjoy singing.  The reason for this, as many a pastor will tell you, is that this is Advent.  We haven’t reached Christmas and its season of celebration yet.  Advent is a time of waiting and quietly reflecting on the light that this world so desperately needs to see.  However, waiting, being quiet and reflecting on what we really need does not suit the bottom line of stores who are eager to begin racking up Christmas sales in October. 

So every store we walk into is blaring Joy to the World or Silent Night while there seems to be anything but around us.  If Santa Claus brings enough toys to put sales in the black and make all the little boys and girls happy, then we will be joyful and finally take a long winter’s rest. 

Or will we?

We know in our heart of hearts that joy doesn’t come in a jolly old elf with a round little belly.  Joy comes in the muck and mud of a homeless, unwed couple tucked away in a dirty barn or cave awaiting the birth of their baby who will come amid blood, sweat and tears.  No wonder we had to pretty it up and add a dash of red, reindeer and romance combined with holiday parties, presents and procrastination.  christmas preparation blog

And exhaustion.

Advent is the antidote to that exhaustion if we are wise enough to embrace it. The carol, “O, Little Town of Bethlehem” reminds us:

          “How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!

          So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.”

It is in the silence that the gift is given and if we aren’t silent, then how will we know when the gift has arrived.  Advent and Sabbath are both times of stopping to listen for the gift that God wants to impart to us – time to reflect on what is really important – a life in God’s care. 

Advent is almost over and the Christmas celebration will officially begin but there are still 52 Sabbath opportunities every year to stop, rest, reflect and listen for the blessing of heaven that God sends to us. 

May the season of light and love fill your hearts and minds with the power of God’s peace and joy.   iStock_000027543299XSmall

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all who make Sabbath a priority in their lives. 

“But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2.20

Blessings,

Nancy       

God’s Widsom and Sabbath Moments

My four-year granddaughter is going to be a big sister in a few months.  She had herself convinced that she was going to have a little sister.  Her reasoning was really quite logical.  She told me, “if God uses his noggin (pointing to her head), then God will give us a girl because we have all this girl stuff already.”  To her God’s wisdom would be as good as hers.

However, God’s wisdom turned out to be different from hers and when she found out her new sibling was a boy, she was NOT happy at all.  And at four she experienced her first disappointment with God.   Clearly, God  was not using his noggin and she was at a loss to understand how this could happen.  She had it figured out and it made sense, therefore, it would make sense to God as well. 

How often do we do this?  We decide what the answer is or should be to our prayer.  We decide what would be the right way for God to respond.  We think we know what the best outcome would be and then we impose or project our ‘wisdom’ onto God.  When we proceed as if our approach is the best and it doesn’t work, we can become very disappointed in God.  Or, we begin to doubt if we can trust God.  It is the opposite of Jesus’ prayer of trust, ‘not my will but yours, O God.’ 

Without spending time with God on a regular basis (e.g. Sabbath Moments), we begin to lose sight of the God of the Bible whose ways are not like ours.  We can also begin to feel that our assessments, wants, wishes, desires, answers are the only ones we need to consider because we are not in the habit of thinking that God has a stake in them too, let alone input.

This week for your Sabbath Moments spend some time reflecting on times when God’s response to prayer was different from what you thought was right or logical.  What did you learn from God’s wisdom?  Reread the Martha and Mary story in Luke 10.38ff.  Martha was sure her wisdom was correct and that her role was to be a good hostess in Jesus’ presence.  Jesus turned the cultural expectation upside down.  What was it that Martha needed to learn about being in relationship in Jesus? 

“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…’   1 Cor. 1.21

Blessings,

Nancy

 

 

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