Headlines from First Thoughts

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sabbath from Turbulent Times

Right now, we are waking up each day to discover what is new about this kind of normal. Until we find the bottom or at least some sort of calm in the storm, we can control the one thing that comes as a gift from God: our time.

People typically respond to a crisis in material things as consumers. They gather more, and in so doing, their consumption consumes them. It’s the age-old problem of greed. The Israelites gathered too much manna just in case they ran out. People think they need more fuel when gas is scarce, and they cap off a ¾ full tank. Investors and lenders want more money, and they risk what they do not have.

In scripture, the gift of Sabbath broke the pattern of greed and returned the people of God to basic trust through anxious times. A little time each day and one day each week separated the people from the very thing, job, or activity that produced stress in their lives. In most cases, they took a break from the material source of provisions so that they could focus on the Source of those material things.

Jesus knew, however, it would not be enough to simply retreat from work. The day itself would turn into an excuse for self-righteousness. He used the day to advance the kingdom of heaven. He replaced the time spent clamoring for more and used the time as a day to spread the good news and fill the earth and life with good things.

Sabbath can be yours today by
….throwing a rock in a stream
….visiting a nursing home
…...holding the hand of a child
…..worshipping the living God
…..singing the song of salvation
…..extending God’s mission in the world

Sabbath practices are so counter-intuitive to the normal lives we lead. But if we’re going to break the cycle, it will take a new kind of normal living.

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