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Sabbath

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. 


The instruction from God to create a day of rest and worship is number four on the list of the Ten Commandments. I will take a bold risk and suggest that this is the least followed commandment. By the way, there are 613 commandments in the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures. 


Many of us remember when stores were closed, and you had to fill the tank with gas on Saturday. I recently noticed a sign on an elevator at a hospital in St. Louis that was marked as running on a “Sabbath Schedule.” Some of our Jewish siblings hold to the practice of not working on Sabbath, so the elevator stops at every floor during Sabbath hours, eliminating the need to operate the elevator by pushing a button. 


Despite what may be good memories of the days when at least some part of life slowed down for a day, practicing the Sabbath is often not done well—if at all. Worship is an essential part of the Sabbath, but if our time after a worship service is nearly as busy as the rest of the week, have we taken the break God offers? 


The Sabbath is a 24-hour period set aside to stop, rest, delight, and worship. We live in an era of chronic exhaustion with too many demands on our time. The number of people of all ages, from children to the elderly, who are living with emotional stress is a hard statistic to grasp.


Sabbath is a part of self-care. Not long ago, we explored Psalm 139 in worship, including the words, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” When we neglect caring for our whole selves—body, mind, and spirit—we dismiss God’s love for us.  


During this second half of summer, I pray we will consider ways to make Sabbath a regular practice. The slightly slower pace of the season can help us carve out time to do so. We may find ourselves resisting or thinking we can’t find time to rest. We can remember that God, in God’s wisdom, said one day a week we should rest. Rest means that we turn our attention away from the daily demands of life and turn toward God. When we rest, we gather the energy,  focus, and faith boost we need to give the best of ourselves the other days of the week.


I hope you will prioritize the Sabbath and include gathering for worship as a part of the practice. We are starting a new worship series, “Well, Bless Their Heart!” We will look at the people at the center of some of the most unusual stories in Scripture and consider what these puzzling moments and people can teach us. 


Worship is at 10:15 this summer—one service only—and is live-streamed. I hope to see you in worship—in person or online. 


Peace, Pastor Linda 

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