Sunday, September 10, 2017
Sep 7, 2017
This weekend, we get back to our “more normal” routine of life as summer is ending and school begins. Summer is always a great time to pull back, change the pace of our lives; and break from the routine that normally leads us through the course of the week. It’s a great time to find some moments of relaxation, for the savoring the warmth of the day and just being with family and friends. I enjoyed a two-week stay-vacation in Naples this summer, no agenda, with the exception of an overnight at Niagara-on-the-Lake for a couple plays and day in Scranton to visit the Steamtown National Park. I hope that your “down time” has been good this summer.
In many ways summer vacation is to the year what Sunday should be to the week; a time to move away from normal activity and to realize that all of life is a gift of God. It is a time to enjoy God’s creation and be mindful of God’s presence in our lives. Remembering everything we have is a gift from God.
Unfortunately, our culture is losing the value of the “withdrawing and relaxing”. Our Scriptures speak about the Sabbath day, the Lord’s Day, the day of rest. The translation of the word “Sabbath” is: “withdrawing.” We withdraw from the normal work-a-day world to celebrate our relationship to God and one another and with God’s creation. Giving ourselves space and a break from our normal routines allows us to reflect our relationship with God. So often we find ourselves so busy dealing with our duties of daily life that we can lose focus. We forget why we’re doing these things in the first place. God gave us the Sabbath so that we would always have one day of our week to remember who we are and where we have come from and why we are upon this earth.
Unfortunately, for many, the culture in which we live does not honor the Sabbath. In fact, Sunday is no different from other days of the week in so many ways. The malls are open, stores are ready to do business with us, many businesses operate seven days a week. I’m not talking about service businesses that exist for the purpose of helping people. My dad absolutely refused to open our store on Sundays, his family and his relaxation were far more important than the all-powerful dollar. It concerns me that there seems to be wholesale forgetfulness about the beauty of the Sabbath. All of us need at least one day every week to withdraw from our “normal activities” and to relax in the loving arms of God and one another.
It’s a shame our Sabbath is being gobbled up by galloping commercialism and frantic activity. Summer vacation may be the last vestige that we have of what it means to relax, withdraw, and allow God to refresh us. I hope you have used your vacation this summer as a kind of Sabbath, a special period of allowing yourself to let go of the urgency that so often floods our minds and hearts; of the busyness that crowds our activities and keeps us at times from even remembering why we are so active and so busy in the first place.
As we begin the Fall season, I invite you to think about how you plan to spend your Sabbath each week. God wants us to give ourselves space and the time to relax; to rest in God’s love and mercy, to cuddle up in God’s lap as a child might do with its parent. It’s a time to be secure in the knowledge that this is God’s world, that, if we do our small part, God will do the rest.
Let us continue to pray for peace and for the end of terrorism in the world.
In Peace and courage,