I am writing this on the kind of late September afternoon we usually only dream about.
The sun is wonderfully warm. The rustle of fall leaves as a slight breeze moves through the trees is relaxing. I am sitting beside a peaceful pond listening to the occasion trout jump and watching the ripples of water. I started a camp fire, not because I needed to, but because the dance of the flames, the curling of the smoke, and the crackle of the fire is relaxing.
It is peaceful. It is relaxing. There is renewal.
I am taking a vacation day which has become a spiritual retreat.
Tomorrow I will get up a little earlier than usual, rush to the airport and be off to Sacramento for a few days packed with meetings. During my 75 hours in Sacramento I will see the airport, a freeway, and the inside of a hotel. Then on Saturday afternoon I will turn around and do the trip in rewind.
While watching the dancing flames of the campfire I have been thinking about the stark contrast between the reality of today and the expectation of tomorrow. Don’t read into this that I dread the next few days hectic pace of airports, and the sometimes tediousness of meetings.
Both today and tomorrow are days that have been ordained by God. King Solomon understood, perhaps better than we do, that there is a time for work and a time for rest. Today was a day for rest. Tomorrow is a day for work.
Today hasn’t been the rest of siting on a couch watching hours of reruns. It wasn’t the rest of a wonderful afternoon nap. It has been the rest of being with God.
I’ve been reading a book titled The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. It is a book about Sabbath. It describes the “rest” that God desires for us. It describes a rest that we get far too little of.
In the spring I attended an evening meeting with other pastors where the speaker made a passing comment about Sabbath. God used that to catch my attention and He hasn’t allowed me to let go of it. In addition to thinking about myself, I began thinking about our church.
Through the spring, summer and now the fall I have continued to think about South Calgary and Sabbath.
Do we know what it means do experience Sabbath? Do we take the time for Sabbath?
We are a busy church. We have a full calendar. I’m sure we could keep ourselves busy seven day a week without any effort. And what we “do” is good. We have excellent leaders providing exceptional ministry.
But as individuals, and as a church, when do we rest? When do we take time for Sabbath?
Our vision is to be a people who passionately follow Jesus to see all made whole.
One of the thoughts I had today is that unless we (the South Calgary Church family) understand and practice Sabbath, we will not fully achieve the vision of being a people who passionately follow Jesus.
Through our busyness we will undoubtedly take steps towards it. With our efforts I am certain that we will see progress. But what we do will be limited by our tiredness, our fatigue and our not hearing from God because we are too busy.
With God’s help this will change.
In November / December we will explore the topic of Sabbath on Sunday mornings. This is not the Sabbath of the Old Testament or the Sabbath of the Pharisees, but the Sabbath of God; God’s intention for rest and renewal.
In January we will begin to intentionally experience Sabbath – but more about that in November.
I urge you to join me in this journey of rediscovering Sabbath.
Join me in a journey of rest and renewal.
Join me in gaining an increased personal fulfillment and increased ministry effectiveness.
Make a commitment to attend as many of the Sunday services during this journey that you can.
Rediscover God’s intention for your rest.