Thursday, July 22, 2010

Human Compromise for a Holy Commandment

We're busy preparing for "Back to Church Sunday", a global campaign that encourages people to invite others to worship. Sunday, September 12th is the date, and I'm excited about the possibility of welcoming people, old faces and new, into the worship space.

The Church Council is reading the text, "reDiscover church: Ten Reasons Why People Leave, and Why They're Coming Back", from by Outreach Publishing. To the point, rather engaging, and certainly meant to stir up some conversation! I was assigned Reason #6:

Reason #6: I’m too busy,

and Sundays are my only time to rest.

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.

Thoughts from the book….

  • Recharging your spiritual battery is just as important as recharging your mental and physical batteries – thanking God is important!
  • Reflecting on what God has done in your life, praying about issues of the heart
  • Sabbath – a time to rest, abide, worship, study, enjoy the company of others who love Him
  • What if church became something to look forward to as much as social events with others?

Thoughts from Brenda…

Rest? REST? Anyone who has ever talked to a Pastor or worship leader would know that Sunday is far from a day of rest! A worship service that is meaningful for the congregation as a whole requires lots of dedication, planning, and WORK! Balancing the deeper meaning of worship with the tasks behind the scenes is a continual process in one’s own heart.

I would also acknowledge and endorse the holiness of a Sunday worship experience, where we set aside an hour to focus on the Word and the Meal. Throw in the power of music and community, and you have an experience that you can’t replicate by yourself at home.

So where does that leave us?

With a daily observance of the Sabbath.

I wrestle with what feels like a human compromise for a holy commandment: if the 7th day of the week is meant to be kept holy, I can whole-heartedly embrace that. Sunday worship services deeply strengthen my faith. If the 7th day of the week is meant to be kept work-less, however, that’s a different matter. Thus, I’m largely in favor of spreading out the Sabbath, be it passing the faith while passing the ball at soccer practice, or remembering one’s Baptism while bathing a child. (See below for other ideas). I can’t believe that if those events happen to fall on a Monday or a Friday that they are any less holy. If I take time to purposefully and intentionally remember my Maker, I’m going to do that on-the-spot, be it a Thursday afternoon or a Saturday evening.

My relationship with God is free from the confines of a calendar, and, while certainly enhanced and strengthened by corporate worship, continues to grow beyond the 8:00 hour on Sunday mornings.

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Since I'll be in Alabama when we have our Council meeting, I've prepared the thoughts you've read above, as well as a poster board (like you didn't see that coming) with some visuals.

Scrapbooking the Sabbath...

Sabbath could be found in the middle of the North Woods.
Who's to say the Holy Spirit isn't dancing in those flames.

Ever see a coach lead a team in a prayer before playing?
Or explored a new church or worship space while out of town?

Child of God.
Even if you have a carrot for a nose.

Quiet, contemplative work in the garden.
Prime time for prayer time.
Imagine remembering your baptismal calling
every time you gave a bath to a child!

I seem to recall a story or two about being fishers of men...

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.


Allikaye's Mama said...

This is great, Brenda! Matt and I have learned that we as a couple, and as parents, and as individuals NEED that Sabbath. We need a day that is restful. That doesn't mean we sit around laying all day. But a day that is purposeful - family time - no shopping, spending $, no trivial tv - stuff like that. And I think that is where God wants the hearts. Not just observing the Sabbath by going to church on a Sunday - not doing it out of obligation. But desiring fellowship with other believers, and spending time with loved ones!
You and your awesome poster board said it wonderfully!!

Brenda L. Greenwald said...

Oh, Ashley, thank you for sharing your thoughts! I've watched you and Matt make faith and family a priority in your home over the years - Miss Allikaye will grow up knowing she is loved by her parents and by God.

Thank you for being such a blessing to us all! B