Week 50 Tuesday

The Lost Sabbath

Today’s scripture selection: Nehemiah 10-13

Key verses: Nehemiah 13:17-22

“I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.” When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day. Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.”

Nehemiah wasn’t a priest or minister – though you might think it by reading about his love for the Sabbath.

Today, in all but the smallest towns, it’s considered a quaint tradition at best; a nuisance and obstacle to business at worst: this idea about keeping the “Sabbath day holy.”

Yes, there are individuals of various faiths who vow to keep their sacred times sacred.  Some of them even succeed in doing so.

But for most of us, Sabbath is just another word – for a bygone era.

What might happen if we discovered it again?

Yes, business would have to wait until Monday or maybe even Tuesday.  That contract would have to be signed next week; that delivery made a little later; and both merchant and consumer would have to be a bit more patient.

But then again, you might be able to breathe a little easier; read a bit more of your Bible; pray without hurrying; find that family time you’ve been missing; have a chance to see a bit more of God’s beautiful creation.

Sounds pretty good, don’t you think?

Prayer: Lord, no matter how busy I become; help me to find holy Sabbath time with you.  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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