Sacred Assembly

Today’s Scripture Selection: Leviticus 23:3

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly.  You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.”

Permit me to say something very “preacher-like.”

Much is said about the importance of keeping the Sabbath.

Even more is said about how it is to be a “day of rest.”

Still more is said, by some, about how this day of rest can be done in many ways – all fine by God:

Rest

  • At home
  • At the gym
  • At the beach
  • At the mountaintop get-a-way

And lots of other places you can easily name.

Funny thing is, not much is said about what God says, right after talking about a Sabbath of rest.

God says why it is a Sabbath day of rest.  It is so there can be a special day set aside for one very special thing: sacred assembly.

There it is – the “gotcha” part.

There it is – the very preacher-like thing to say.

Sabbath is for sacred assembly.  It is not for spending time alone or even with family.  It is for worship – communal worship.

At least, that’s how I read that scripture.

I am all for family time, athletic events, meditation time, exercise time, shopping time, beach and time on the mountaintop, and all the rest.

It’s just that I am also very much in favor of “sacred assembly.”

It looks to me like, according to Leviticus, so is God.

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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