FUMC Marietta, GA- Church: Methodist, Local Church Service
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Will you grow...In Sabbath Living?
June 14 - July 12
Together as a community we explore the meaning and practice of Sabbath. This time of emphasis on spiritual growth includes a sermon series on Sabbath keeping (June 14, 21, July 5 and July 12).
Daily devotions, available each Sunday, encourage making moments of Sabbath as well as reflections on the Biblical basis for Sabbath rhythms and Sabbath rest.These are available as inserts in the weekly worship bulletin and here:
Singing at Sunset
Remember when folks would gather for all day singings just for the pleasure of making music together in the Lord’s house? We’ll have a chance to do that this summer in the Log Chapel as we call out our favorite hymns from the “Cokesbury” and “Spiritual Life” songbooks—maybe even a gospel tune, too! Join us at 7:00pm on Sunday July 12 as we end the Sabbath day with sweet singing under the trees.
Sunday School Lessons - The following discussion-oriented lessons describe the Biblical basis of Sabbath keeping and how together we can encourage one another in this life-giving practice.
The Art of Letting Go
by Keith Jennings
Rest. Cease. Pause. These are Sabbath words.
There is a lot written about Sabbath. How to. Why to. Need to. Should do. There has been a lot of preaching on it too. Not to mention a lot of questions trying to shove it neatly in a box so we can put a bow on top.
When he had just hit the big time, I once heard Garth Brooks say, “Why stop and smell the roses when you can smell them while you’re running with them in your hand?”
We’re busy people. We have responsibilities. We make sacrifices.
But maybe that’s the fruit talking. You know that forbidden fruit we continue to eat to be like God and know good and evil. The one that got us kicked out of paradise. The one that caused all this toil to begin with.
But the practice of Sabbath came before the Fall. Hmmmm. Then it was added as a top ten commandment.
Maybe Sabbath is about letting go.
We’re not good at letting go. But it’s as if the world is designed around teaching us to let go.
We must fall asleep at night. That’s letting go.
We must raise our children and let them go.
We must let go of loved ones as they pass on or are taken from us.
And we are commanded to let go for one day a week. To pause. Cease. Rest. To let go of the gravity of our cares and live carefree...as best possible.
Letting go is how we accept that we’re not God.
Letting go let’s God be God.
Letting go is very, very hard.
More than resting. More than ceasing. More than pausing. Sabbath is the practice of letting go.
Sabbath is indeed holy.
Where is Sabbath?
by Cecie Cate
To Prepare For What Is Coming Up, Not Because of What You Have Done
by Forrest Cate
On a tour of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, the tour guide reminded me of an interesting aspect of Sabbath. We have hiked less than a mile or so when the we were all encouraged to sit down in one of the large open chambers and rest. The hike wasn't really strenuous up to that point, so the "compulsory" respite seemed unnecessary. And then the tour guide explained, we weren't resting because of what we had done, we were resting for what was ahead. A more demanding, uphill climb. I have found that where Sabbath is concerned, there is a difference between resting from work and working from rest. There is Sabbath keeping- duty, obligation, blue laws, and serving the Sabbath. And then there is Sabbath living- being present, being aware, being served by Sabbath, and most of all: being.
Will You Grow...In Sabbath Living?
by Dr. Sam Matthews
You shouldn’t take any golf advice from me, and you certainly shouldn’t bet the rent on whether I could make a four-foot putt under pressure. None of my playing partners ever calls me Tiger Woods, but some sometimes mention Tiger Lily. But there are some things I know. I know that the great Bobby Jones once said that the most important space in golf is the six inches between the ears. It is, then, a mental game. But lots of things are.
One mistake that novice golfers make is in a practice regimen. They run to the driving range at lunch to hit a quick bucket of balls. They stop by after work and try to work in a half hour of practice here and there. The really good instructors caution against that. They insist that one must get mentally prepared to practice and to play. They suggest no “quick trips,” but rather a disciplined, intentional process. Put the equipment in the car the same way. Drive the same route to the range. Put your shoes on the same way. Don’t hurry. Think about what you are doing and what you want to accomplish. Disciplined practice, they say, will pro-
duce better results. It’s a mental thing.
I wonder if Sabbath Living is that way. When most of us speak of Sabbath, we think of grabbing a few minutes here and there. A quick nap on Sunday (after we run by the office). A late meal with the kids after their games. The big paper, the lounge chair, and the Braves on television. Sabbath.
I suspect that our Lord had something different in mind in the commandment to remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy (Exodus 20: 8ff). I suspect that we are to be more intentional about Sabbath Living, too. The commandment orders a severe disruption of our schedule, a drastic reordering of the hours of that time. In an agrarian culture where one lived literally hand to mouth, the commandment to stop, to rest, and to recreate must have seemed profoundly radical. So it is today. On a regular basis we are to alter radically our hours, to stop (not merely slow down), to “lie fallow,” and allow the spirit of God into that precious six inches between the ears.
We already know that we are rushed. We are tired and we are anxious. We are depressed. We are frayed and harassed. Is there an answer? Is there a place to turn? Surprisingly, once again, our God is ahead of us by some 4000 years. There it is, in the ancient texts of our faith. Stop. Recreate. Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy. Will you do that? Will you walk this walk during the summer with your church family? Will you, along with us, live the Sabbath? Let’s try it together.
Books, Blogs, Magazines and podcast that may help us to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy:
Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives
by Wayne Muller
Described by one reader as a exploration into the concept of "Sabbath" and its importance in world religions. Muller describes Sabbath rituals in the Jewish faith and discusses scriptural references to the Sabbath (from Christian and Buddhist, as well as Jewish texts), especially those concerning why it is celebrated at all. Text includes poems and stories about the Sabbath practices of the author's friends. Many of the chapters close with a "Practice" section, in which Muller describes actions you can take to put the ideas from the chapter into practice.
The Sense of the Call
by Marva J. Dawn
Professional church workers and lay leaders alike will find this book helpful in discovering ways that keep service to the chruch from blocking the path to Discipleship. Sections on resting, ceasing, feasting, and embracing will provide insight into Sabbath Living.
Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of Rest
by Lynne M. Baab
An easy read with lots of practical wisdom about Sabbath keeping and living. Readers have credited the book for changing the way they live in regard to the ancient practice of Sabbath.
A Timbered Choir
by Wendell Berry
Includes The Sabbath Poems
Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.
And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we're asleep.
A radio show series which shares perspective on the economic downturn and lessons learned. In this episode Ellen Williams speaks of Sabbath insight brought about by the current economic climate.
"I hope my children and grandchildren will ask 'Who am I?' and learn to define themselves by their spiritual natures, not by their physical forms or achievements. Then they will be for themselves and for each other what is needed for our mutual benefit..." (To read and hear more, click here)
Click here for recommendations for movies with a Sabbath theme or scenes of Sabbath