MEMO- RE: Rest Sermon

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Mon, 05/20/2019 - 10:30am

05-19-19 “MEMO – RE: Sabbath Rest

Exo 20:8-11

(8)  "Remember to keep the Sabbath day [holy.-set apart]

(9)  Six days you are to labor and do all your work,

(10)  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You are not to do any work, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your livestock, nor the alien who is within your gates,

(11)  because the LORD made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, in six days, then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Matthew 11:25–12:8

(25)  At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from wise and intelligent people and have revealed them to infants.

(26)  Yes, Father, because this is what was pleasing to you.

(27)  All things have been entrusted to me by my Father. No one fully knows the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows the Father except the Son and the person to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

(28)  "Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.

(29)  Place my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest for your souls,

(30)  because my yoke is pleasant, and my burden is light."

(1)  At that time Jesus walked through the grain fields on a Sabbath. His disciples became hungry and began picking heads of grain to eat.

(2)  When the Pharisees saw this, they told him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!"

(3)  But he told them, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?

(4)  How is it that he went into the house of God and ate the Bread of the Presence, which was not lawful for him and his companions to eat but was reserved for the priests?

(5)  Or haven't you read in the Law that on every Sabbath the priests in the Temple violate the Sabbath and yet are innocent?

(6)  But I tell you, something greater than the Temple is here!

(7)  If you had known what 'I want mercy and not sacrifice' means, you would not have condemned the innocent,

(8)  for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

05-19-19 “MEMO – RE: Sabbath Rest

 Did you get the memo?

It’s printed in the bulletin, and it’s a commentary on The Work ethic at the end of the 19th century:

This notice originally appeared in 1854 on the bulletin

 board of the great Wanamaker store in New York City. It read:

“The store must not be open on the Sabbath day unless absolutely necessary, and then only for a few minutes. Any employee who is in the habit of smoking Spanish cigars, getting shaved at the barber shop, going to dances and other places of amusement will most surely give his employer reason to be suspicious of his integrity and all-around honesty.

“Each employee must not pay less than $5 per year to the church and must attend Sunday school every Sunday.

“Men employees are given an evening a week for courting purposes, and two if they go to prayer meetings regularly.

That’s right men, you get extra time off for good behavior; just go to a worship service or a prayer meeting, and your date night with your honey is practically guaranteed!

Sabbath is a key principle in the Bible on which there is widely diverging views. Many Orthodox Jews still will not do any form of work from sunset on Friday through Saturday. For Catholics, certain Sunday Masses are called a “Holy Day of Obligation”- Obligatory attendance is required if at all possible. For most Protestants, Sunday worship services are the primary observance of the Sabbath.  But is the Biblical Sabbath really even a day of the week, or is it something more, something that includes days of worship as a part of something more, a larger idea, a bigger principle?

Sabbath rest is an essential principle, and an important practice that keeps us spiritually, centered, connected to God, and balanced in our minds and hearts. It is a spiritual respite that provides psychological relieve and promotes emotional well-being when consistently observed in our lives. If this type of rest is so important, how can we best incorporate it into our schedules and make it a regular part of our lives?

Its Essence.  

First, a legalistic mindset will never get us to the heart of the Sabbath. Memos with mandates from the management, New England Blue Laws , and Levitical codes can’t  get us there. It can’t be legislated as a rule or regulation. Jesus said this very clearly to the spiritual leaders of his day. If the Sabbath is just a day, then the Priests who work in the Temple violate it. He and his disciples worked to gather food on the Sabbath. On several different occasions, Jesus healed people on the Sabbath. "Is there a man among you who, if he had one sheep and it fell into a ditch on the Sabbath, wouldn't take hold of it and pull it out?” Which of us, if we have a crisis at our island business, wouldn’t drop what they are doing and respond to it? Jesus continued by saying, “it is lawful to do good on Sabbath days."

And the Sabbath, we read in the 10 Commandments is HOLY. Literally, something to be set apart. The reason that sabbath rest is commanded is to underscore its importance. To see it not only as a priority, but as something that is essential to our spiritual health and over-all well-being. If we view the Sabbath then, not strictly as a 24 hour day, but as a less defined period of time set apart for rest from the normal, every day activities of living; as a break from the busyness and commerce of our lives, it becomes somewhat easier to make time for it on a regular basis.

A Period of Time

Time has been described as the most valuable commodity or currency of our modern day. We actually pay people to do things for us, that we could do for ourselves, just to free up more of our time. (to mow our lawns or clean our house , or weed our gardens) How much time do we need to observe the Sabbath principle in our lives?

1/7th . A literal day or 24 hours 1/7th of our week; that’s a lot by any standard of measurement. One whole day off a week is too much for a lot of us during the summer season.

1/10th Tithing our time?! 10% some of us pay people so that we have time to do other things. If we sleep 6 or 8 hours a night, 10 % of our waking day is about an hour and a half. That’s still a big chuck of time. Just carving out a few minutes to come up for air can be a challenge. Why not start here? 5 or 10 minutes at the start of a day reading a one page devotional like Our Daily Bread can get you centered. A 1 minute prayer at the end of your reading can help your turn over the coming day to the Lord’s leading and guidance.

<1% . There are 168 hours in a week. 1 hour out of 168 is less than 1% of our time; maybe we can do this! know of at least two members of our congregation that told their employer that they must have an hour off on Sunday mornings to attend worship this summer. And they didn’t lose their jobs over it!

We read that people were not created for the sabbath, but that the sabbath was created for us. So each of us need to figure out what what we think our sabbath looks like, and then we need to figure out what works best for us, and then pursue regularly and with resolve.

A Special PLACE.

Setting aside a holy place to do this can help us make this happen. Some of the references to Sabbath in the Old Testament speak of a place of rest. This can be anywhere that works for you. I knew a mom once, who had three pre-schoolers who pretty much filled her every waking moment. So what she did, before her husband went to his day job, was lock herself in the bathroom for half an hour each morning. The first 10 minutes she spent sitting on the the throne (with the lid closes) reading her bible and praying. Then spent 15 or 20 minutes brushing her teeth and putting on lipstick and she was ready to face her day. In the bedrooms of houses I’ve lived in, I’ve often put a small chair, where I sit a read for a few minutes each morning or night. It’s not where I sit down to put on my pants and tie my shoes, its my special quiet time place to meet with the Lord. I know some of you walk your dogs each early each morning on the beach; that’s your holy place. I’ve read that it is better not to eat lunch at your place of work. Or if you do, spend the last 5 or 10 minutes of your lunch time outside breathing the fresh salty air and drinking in the sunshine. It will not only aid your digestion, it will enhance your spirit. Wherever you can find it, create your own holy sabbath space and return to it regularly.

A Practice, an Activity.

Although the concept of Sabbath includes the idea of stopping or ceasing from your normal daily activity, it doesn’t mean ‘a folding of your hand’ to rest. It can be a very active thing. Jesus said take upon my yoke and learn from me and you will find rest for your souls, -  a yoke is a piece of farming equipment designed to accomplish work! It’s a tool of industry. The trick is to Trade in your heavy, every day yoke of business, and instead take up the yoke of Jesus. Sabbath doesn’t mean cessation from all work; it means trading in our regular work in favor of activities that recharge our spirits and energize our lives. We read that it is lawful to do good on the sabbath. Not only being in the presence of God but Doing Good works for others while being mindful of God’s presence can also be a path to Sabbath rest. If this is true, then every little random act of kindness we perform, every small good deed we accomplish can nourish our souls, can discover the promise of the yoke of Jesus which brings rest. Rest doesn’t only mean to stop or cease – it also means finding rest and refreshment through activities which give life to our spirits.

Its Priority.

“for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

WE come to God, we make ourselves available to God, we give ourselves to God, and God gives us the rest. Not only spiritual rest, but the rest of what we need to be successful and fulfilled in our lives and our work.

We need to Think about sabbath rest as spiritual care,  just like we think about the physical care that we give our bodies. When we’re thirsty, we drink, when we’re hungry we eat, when we’rer tired, … well, we say, “ there’s no rest for the weary!” Wrong! There is rest for us when we choose to take it. When we make it a priority, when we make Jesus Lord of our sabbath, when we give Jesus Lord-ship over our times for seeking spiritual rest.

We began today by reading a memo on the Sabbath by Wannamakers. If we were to write our own Memo on the Sabbath, what would we put in the subject line regarding Rest. What are the R-E’s of rest? Perhaps they could be listed as RE-charge RE-Fresh RE-store, RE-new, and RE-set” Sabbath rest can accomplish all of this for us and more if we make time for it and practice it regularly. Sabbath can re-set our lives, restore balance, and give us direction.

Think about The Re-set button on a computer program or smart phone app. When it slows down and isn’t working as well any more, we can go into the Setting menu and find the option to Clear the cache (not dollar bills but the c-a-c-h-e, cache); This removes all of that temporary data that’s taking up room in our computer’s memory, and bogging it down. Sabbath rest is liking emptying out our spiritual caches, It is like clearing out space in our heads and hearts from all extra unnecessary stuff that is filling us up and slowing us down. It’s about making new room, fresh space for God in our lives! Did you get the memo? God desires to RE-charge RE-Fresh RE-store, RE-new, each day as we come to the Lord of the Sabbath for rest, Amen.