Week 27 Friday

Holy Sabbath

Today’s scripture selection: Ezekiel 19-24

Key verse: Ezekiel 20:20

“Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us.  Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.”

     Mention God’s laws; God’s principles and it’s not long before someone is sure to mention “Well, you need to keep the Sabbath holy!”  Then, there usually follows a discussion about how people do or don’t do this right and whether or not certain businesses or sporting events should be held on Sunday.

     I’ve been a part of many of those discussions as a pastor.  And, I will definitely count myself among the number who wishes coaches would, at the very least, wait until after noon to hold those sporting events.

     But there is one thing that bothers me about those discussions.

     It’s the fact that so often they are grounded in a “rules” mentality.  You know:

1. The rule is “Keep the Sabbath Holy.”

2. Here’s how to do that (Step 1,2,3,…)

3. If you don’t do that, God will “get you.”

4. End of discussion.

What bothers me about this, regardless of the merits of “following God’s rules,” is that I think God had something a lot more in mind that just keeping us in line.

God loves us.  He desires a relationship with us – a relationship – where there is good, deep, intimate, loving communication.  He wants to hear from us regularly and wants us to know He’s there for us.  He wants to be joyful in our presence and wants us to be joyful in his.

He wants to know us – and wants us to really know him – not just know “about” him.

Sabbath is – or should be – all of those things.

Intimate; joyful; loving; fulfilling; sustaining; strengthening.

It’s so much more than just waiting till afternoon to throw a football or go to the store.

It’s so much more than following the “rules” so we don’t get in trouble.

That’s part of what makes it so holy – and so blessed.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me keep your holy Sabbath in my heart, every day.  AMEN.

    

     

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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