Headlines from First Thoughts

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sabbath Jars

Most people begin practicing Sabbath by trying to find a 24-hour slot. They schedule the time, try to take a break, and feel guilty about the laundry or the email for an entire week. That feels more like time management to me, not observing Sabbath. In the wilderness, the Israelites first practiced Sabbath by trusting that God would provide manna—twice as much before their day off, and the regular amount afterward. Sabbath begins with acknowledging God’s provision and trusting God during a day off.

Last Sunday, I shared ways that individuals and families can recognize that God will always supply their needs. I suggested following a method similar to the one in Exodus 16. Find a jar (or use the one given to children and youth), and fill it with symbols of the ways God has provided for you in the past. Focus on the intangible gifts: a picture of family, a timely email of encouragement, a token of laughter or love. Display the jar in your home; discuss it with roommates, friends, and family. Every time you see it, you’re preparing for Sabbath. You will know that God will take care of you before and after your day of rest.

As a church, we have a similar assignment. Last year, God demonstrated his provision tangibly through our pledges to the capital campaign. We used “Fulfilling the Promise” flower pots with prints of FBC children’s hands to decorate the breakfast that day. The flower pots are back; but this time, we don’t need pledge cards or balloons. I want to know other ways that God has provided for our church. We share a collective memory of several hundreds of years of service at 1B. How have you seen God provide? Drop something in the flower pot: a picture, a note, a memento. Note paper is provided nearby each flower pot; scribble a phrase or two and added to the soil. These pots are placed throughout the church.

The Sabbath Series ends October 1 with communion. On that day, people bring their jars of God’s provision to worship. We will also share the blessings of God’s provision that they have left in the “Fulfilling the Promise” pots. Every time we remember God’s provision, we celebrate Sabbath. Let’s remember for generations to come.

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