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On The Sabbath 061312
For years I was upset because I thought we had it wrong. On Sunday we rest, do very little work and take time to talk to family, have family meals together and read the Bible.
But Saturday is the Sabbath, as several religious groups assert. I didn’t understand exactly how Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday. Then, my lovely wife pointed out that ‘a’ Sabbath is required, but there is no way to know if the ‘Saturday’ we have today is the same day of the week that Moses and the fleeing Hebrews had several thousand years ago. So, limiting the idea of Sabbath to one particular day of the week is impossible, and it is not possible to be accurate.
But taking one day a week, as a community, to rest and consider our relationships, to each other and to God is still recommended, and I think, required.
It is also a very, very good idea. The week, one’s life and family and one’s relationships all go better having taken this one day to rest. I have in mind also a series of poems written by Wendell Berry called The Sabbath Poems. They are a collection of poems written on the Sabbath, and on Sabbath subjects, over a period of twenty years. Here is an example from Wendell Berry’s Sabbath Poems
“A gracious Sabbath stood here while they stood
Who gave our rest a haven.
Now fallen, they are given
To labor and distress.
These times we know much evil, little good
To steady us in faith
And comfort when our losses press
Hard on us, and we choose,
In panic or despair or both,
To keep what we will lose.
For we are fallen like the trees, our peace
Broken, and so we must
Love where we cannot trust,
Trust where we cannot know,
And must await the wayward-coming grace
That joins living and dead,
Taking us where we would not go–
Into the boundless dark.
When what was made has been unmade
The Maker comes to His work.”
From Berry’s A Timbered Choir: Sabbath Poems.
Pray for peace
Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
Pray with us!
We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net
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Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
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1Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
2Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.
3Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day.
4For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5He made it a decree in Joseph, when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a voice I had not known:
6“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.
7In distress you called, and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
13You yourself are to speak to the Israelites: “You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. 14You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people. 15Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death. 16Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. 17It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” 18When God finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
25Three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem 2where the chief priests and the leaders of the Jews gave him a report against Paul. They appealed to him 3and requested, as a favor to them against Paul, to have him transferred to Jerusalem. They were, in fact, planning an ambush to kill him along the way. 4Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, and that he himself intended to go there shortly. 5“So,” he said, “let those of you who have the authority come down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him.” 6After he had stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea; the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. 7When he arrived, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem surrounded him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. 8Paul said in his defense, “I have in no way committed an offense against the law of the Jews, or against the temple, or against the emperor.” 9But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and be tried there before me on these charges?” 10Paul said, “I am appealing to the emperor’s tribunal; this is where I should be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you very well know. 11Now if I am in the wrong and have committed something for which I deserve to die, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to the emperor.” 12Then Festus, after he had conferred with his council, replied, “You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor you will go.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.