Sabbath…”Now that I have Your Attention…”

 
 

Happy 14th Sunday of Pentecost!

 

 Even on this Labor Day, created to honor workers in 1894 by giving them a day of rest, many of us will be unable or unwilling to stop working.  Did I tell you the story about the guy who got caught picking up firewood in the Israelite camp? Before you do anything else, read Num. 15:32-36.  Go ahead…I’ll wait…

Now that I have your attention…let’s talk about Sabbath, one of the most ignored commandments in the Bible.

The passage from Numbers seems strange and ugly to our ears—the community really executed someone for picking up sticks on the sabbath?  The same God that loves us unconditionally told them to do it?  We can’t deny or explain away the harshness of God’s advice to stone the man, other than for it to remind us that God takes the Sabbath very seriously, and we should check ourselves too—do we take the Sabbath as a matter of life or death?  Do we plan ahead to take Sabbath time, or do we get caught unprepared and break Sabbath like the man gathering firewood?

Then there’s Jesus in the Gospels: Mark 2:23-28 does not express the same death-penalty seriousness.  Why is Jesus so relaxed about the Sabbath?  Well, in reacting to the Pharisees extreme Sabbath observance, he points to the fact that human need (not want) can and does take precedence over strict Sabbath observance.  If you’re starving, God understands.  Break the sabbath so you can eat.  If you need to work to save someone, God will understand.  Save that person and break the sabbath.  The sabbath has a deeper meaning behind just strict work stoppage.  Just look at the promises Isaiah points out in 58:13-14—if we keep the sabbath, we will find that life is so much richer!

Genesis 2:1-3 solemnizes the Sabbath as a part of the rhythm of creation, and Exodus 20:8-11 uses this logic when the fourth commandment is given.  In Deuteronomy’s 10 Commandments, the reason given is remembrance of the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt. Both are important.  Tending to the rhythm we were created to live is crucial, helping us remember that we were created for more than just toil.  After all, what is all that work for if not to add value to our lives?  So trust God that the world will not fall apart if you take a day of rest per week, and trust God that connection is more important than production and ambition.  Schedule time to play with your new puppy (or your old one), sit down and read a good book, put together a puzzle, call an old friend.  Take Sabbath, even if you have to work for it.  We’ll go through a lot of scripture during the sermon, but it will be worth it.  Just like Sabbath.

 

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 9/6/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  We will have communion at every 8am service.  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.    

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 8am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

 

The Youth is meeting for a work night on September 6th from 3:30-5:30pm. They will be painting the youth room! Please come and bring a friend! SPYouth will regularly meet every 1st and 3rd Sunday from 4:30-5:30pm in the Fellowship Hall. Praise NG will be meeting every 2nd and 4th Sunday in the Sanctuary.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.