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

Posts tagged ‘relationships’

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

Blessings,

Nancy

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Sabbath Moments and Hospitals

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I spent most of this last week at the hospital.  My husband had some back surgery and so I was back and forth a number of times during his 3 day stay.  Each time I entered the very busy lobby I was struck by the variety of people there.  Obviously, there were the ‘information’ people and the ‘badge wearers’ whether doctors, nurses, administrators or staff.  There were the security people watching the people and the doors very closely.  There were visitors wearing their bright blue stickers making sure everyone knew they were probably lost or looking for something or someone.  And there were the patients. 

Again, it was quite obvious who the patients were by their designer gowns, IV poles or wheelchairs.  Some were old, some were middle-aged, some in the prime of their life, some were teens and some were very young children.  But without the gowns, IV poles and wheelchairs I sensed I would have known who they were by the look in their eyes. 

I’m not quite sure how to describe the look – it was almost as if their eyes were not reflecting back the world they were seeing.  Their eyes had an inward focus as if they were seeing but only interpreting through their particular situation.  And I’m not sure that does the look justice.  It wasn’t self-centered or arrogant.  Many people only see the world through how it affects them.  It wasn’t a ‘pay attention to me’ look.  And it certainly wasn’t a ‘pity me’ look. 

The look in their eyes said I’m using all my energy to still my mind, steady my body and steer clear of this disease.  Their eyes said to me “at the moment I need to pay attention to my life and its meaning.  I am seeing things from a different perspective.”   And in that seeing is an urgency that only comes when life hangs in the balance. 

Whether they were people of faith, I do not know; but I do know that when people of faith take time to Sabbath, they see things differently. 

Sabbath is about paying attention to your life and its meaning.  Sabbath is about seeing things from a different perspective.  Sabbath is about stopping and withdrawing from the normal routine of things much as a hospital patient has to do.  Sabbath is about seeing the bigger picture of life, of creation, of relationships and how everything fits together because of the work of the creator.  Sabbath is about seeing life as the gift it is, precious and beautiful and gaining the perspective that it is fleeting and we are not in control. 

Sabbath enlivens the eyes of faith, stills our minds, steadies our bodies and steers us clear of the disease of busyness and hurry.  Sabbath saves our lives.

“Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see…” Luke 10.23

Blessings on your Sabbath eyes this week,

Nancy

 

 

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