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Sabbath Reflections

Sabbath Reflections

rest in a weary land

rest in a weary land

In a couple of different ways I’ve been feeling tugged to explore God’s prescribed Sabbath.  Probably the catalyst was in finding out that our senior pastor’s were considering taking a sabbatical, which is a form of extended sabbath.  However, that alone didn’t do it, there are a bunch of other reasons why I’ve been wanting to explore this phenomenon.

From a practical perspective: as I’ve been asked to help revise  the sabbatical policies for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada as part of my role on their Leadership Council.
From a lifestyle perspective: because I have a growing disdain for the lifestyle I’m being told to pursue and enjoy…largely involving an embrace of consumerism, materialism, and having more and better things.
From a vocational perspective: because as a pastor myself, I have a responsibility to present a biblical worldview to those I have been called to lead, and, increasingly, I’m beginning to wonder if God’s creation of sabbath has a bigger part to play in such a world-view.

And finally, this morning as I was going about my business I glanced at a book in our church’s library, picked it up and was drawn to a few chapters that asked the same questions I was asking.

Usually when a thought is reinforced in this many ways it’s a good idea to give it some time and attention.  So that is what I endeavor to do, slowly and intentionally, meditatively and practically, for as long as it takes.  It just wouldn’t do to work for a deadline, or work too vigorously at learning about rest.

For starters, I’m going to think about what I read this morning.
I invite you to do the same.

“We must Redefine the good life,” Sider.

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Excerpts from Ron Sider’s “I am Not a Social Activist”

“God’s provision of the Sabbath is a divine reminder of human limitations.  We have lost the sense of our finitude.  Sabbath, when truly observed, puts a halt to our frantic striving to produce and possess – or even to work to change the world for the sake of the oppressed.”
“The material world is good – as is our work creating wealth or fostering justice.  But God never intended us to forget our dependence on the Creator in our concern for shaping culture and doing mission.  The Sabbath reminds us at once of our finitude and our dependence on God.”

“‘consumption is the sole end and object of all economic activity.’  Commercial television now exists and the main voice of this ideology.  The average adult watches five hours a day-twenty thousand commercials a year.  Christians, theoretically, do not believe this idolatrous nonsense.  But we easily fall into the same workaholic trap.  Engrossed in our struggle to ‘produce’ we sometimes destroy our marriages and neglect our children just as workaholic materialists do.
How can we break this demonic cycle?
For starters, we must redefine the good life.
Lasting joy comes only from a right relationship with God, neighbour, and the earth.  We must develop a theology of ENOUGH, model simple lifestyles, champion policies that permit people to choose parenting, leisure and community service over the maximizing of income and profits; and develop an economy that discourages overconsumption.  Unlimited economic growth is an economic Tower of Babel.”  Ron Sider, I am not a Social Activist pg 162-3.
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Redefine the good life.

I love that line because it tells me that the answer lies in a change of my heart, a change of desire.
It reminds me of something Jesus said.  At the end of a long teaching about worrying, about a correct perspective on worldly possessions and about chasing after security, he makes this simple and powerful statement.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Luke 12:34

I am hoping that as I explore God’s rhythm of sabbath and learn how to practice it in my life, that I will begin to change.  I trust that my idea of what ‘treasure’ is will change, and flowing from that, my heart will learn to rest in enough.

Discussion

One comment for “Sabbath Reflections”

  1. Halleluja! That thought did not come by coincidence. It was the Spirit of Almighty God(Yahweh)that brought it to you because you are an earnest seeker.
    Old Order Mennonites refused us when I was healed of advanced MS by the Word of God. I had spent much time in His presence. I was never taught about God’s healing through Yahshua(Jesus), the Messiah, but Yahweh(God) brought it about. They didn’t understand. There is much, much more, but most of all God had to do that so we would be teachable in His hands. He is still in the process(and most likely till life in this body is done)but He never allowed us to join a church again. It took along time to understand but He has brought many answers at timely times. He showed me that Paul was attached to no church so that He could be a servant to all. We are in a time of restoration before Yahshua returns for His Bride, just like John the Baptist preached preparation for Messiah’s appearance.
    The Sabbath has great meaning. Catholic’s (Constantine)brought in the Sunday worship which is the same as Aaron did when building the golden calf and saying they were doing it for THE LORD. Yahweh(God) said it was a sign between His children and Him that we were His. Satan always distorts everything Almighty God says so he also brought a sign to that was his. I don’t mean all Sunday worshippers have gone lost, but it is a time of restoration, an appointed change, where God is going to again refresh His Own Word.
    I like writing the Hebrew names for God, and Jesus, because that was also changed by people.
    May Yahweh Elohim give you the courage, wisdom, and strength to speak to the people in your assembly that are ultimately His.
    s

    Posted by Tina | March 9, 2011, 9:23 pm

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