Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Liturgy for Living

"I'm overwhelmed!" "I'm just exhausted." "My life is crazy right now." Sound familiar? All too often this is not a temporary condition. It is our normal state. Americans in general and Christians in particular seem to feel that being too busy is a virtue. Homeschool moms seem particularly prone to this. And the corrolary of that attitude seems to be that our extraordinary busy-ness justifies sloppy, shallow living.

But this is not what we have recieved from God. His routine is "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work..." (Deut 5:13, 14) The Exodus 20 giving of the Law cites as the reason for this command that we are made to imitate God's work of creation: "for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day..." Deuteronomy 5 goes on to give a further reason, "...Remember that thou was a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm..."

We are made for rest in the midst of work. Further, God has purchased a holiday for us one day in seven. The Sabbath is a constant reminder that where merely human strength cannot cannot bring our work to fruition, God's might can - even without us. God's people ought not to be slaves of the urgent.

But we ought not to be slaves to a slate of Sabbath-Day do's and don'ts either. The rhythms of God's work and the dance of our Sabbath worship ought to be teaching us music that we can embellish, rather than merely repeating. Sadly, our anything-goes age has forgotten most of the steps, so here is a brief of the dance. (Deb over at On the Vine is doing a whole series on this.)

In worship we
1) Come near and know our unworthiness
2) Confess our sin and recieve forgiveness
3) Respond with thanks and praise
4) Recieve God's nourishment in Word and Sacrament
5) Go out rejoicing in God's strength and commissioning

So rightly, the Sabbath could properly contain so much:
1) Reflection, journaling, scrapbooking
2) Letting others off the hook in various ways, letting yourself off the hook (He has), napping
3) Singing, making music, writing thank you notes or calls
4) Feasting, discussing the Scriptures and their applications in our day, exercising hospitality, seeing a movie or reading a book that will flesh out the implications of God's Word...
5) Planning the coming week in light of the Biblical admonitions received, laughing

Leave the rat-race. Join the dance!


Deb said...

Kim, THANK YOU for this wonderful meditation! I'm going to print out your Sunday ideas to encourage myself to truly make it a day of rest.

The Autumn Rain said...

How encouraging it is to read this. My family has been doing a study of the "proper observation" of the Sabbath during Bible time in the morning, and we've all been a bit depressed by the rather legalistic approach our catechism took. This was definitely something I needed to read (and something that I'll be sharing with the rest of my family). Thank you!

Carol said...

So sad that, amid the secularization of our society, we have forgotten how to Sabbath. Thank you for the reminder!

Catez said...

HI Kim,
I haven't visited here before. I really liked the list of things we can do - I d some of those but it was the spirit of it that I really appreciated. (I'm a bit of a dancer I guess).

IBelieveInHim said...

Thank you for this beautiful post! I have been convicted in the past of not having a "Sabbath Rest". Your post gives me encouragement to do it!

eph2810 said...

Thank you Kim for this wonderful post. Actually I am using my Sabbath day to catch up with my favorite bloggers. Time for that has been short this past week. Thank you for the reminder to leave the rat-race to join the dance.


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