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!