Tag Archives: Sabbath

Holy Saturday

garden tomb

    There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character.  He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea.  He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used.  It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin (Luke 23:50-54, The Message).

On Saturday, the Sabbath, Jesus’ body rested in the tomb.  The Sabbath was created by God as a day for humanity to rest and reflect on God’s goodness and blessings.  Today the church rests in the story of Jesus’ passion.



Waiting for the new creation, the eighth day to dawn.   The stone will be rolled away and the world will never be the same.

Lord Jesus, I wait with you today.

Done Enough?

Yesterday our e-mail and website went down. Our domain name, resurrection-woodbury.org, was dropped as our congregation transitions to a new webhosting site. I am so thankful for people like our office administrator, Sue Guck, and our web volunteer, Matthew Mayer, who immediately saw the problem and are now working hard to correct it.  We should be back up by tomorrow. Technology is a great tool, but it has its glitches.

Though frustrated by this event, it caused me to reflect on my overreliance on such technology tools and the constant “buzz” it produces. I have this feeling that I NEED to be connected. Such feelings can become unhealthy. Sort of like overtraining in running, or becoming a workaholic, it is too much of one thing. God gave us work, exercise and community as gifts, but they are not to become “gods.”

The Sabbath is also a gift from God. Wayne Muller has written about sabbath rest for the Lutheran magazine. He asks the question, “When have we done enough?” Since many of us think we cannot rest until we have finished everything, we never rest.

I remember being on a retreat with a large number of pastors and doing a devotion on resting in God. The one response that stood out was a pastor who said he could never rest, since there is still one more person to visit, one more couple to counsel, one more family to help. God “expected” him to bring care to the entire congregation. I wondered silently, “are you trying to be God, rather than God’s agent?”

So many of us just keep plowing along. Sabbath is the promise of God that we have done enough, worked enough, served enough. It is the promise that we can rest in God’s promise that we are God’s children in spite of our inadequacies and unfinished business. It is a gift of grace that needs to be practiced weekly, whether we are finished or not.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Lord Jesus, let me rest in you today.

From Absurd to Obedient

Peace like a River in Colorado

I am on vacation this week, seeking rest and renewal.  I prepared this post before I left, but it contains my hope for this time away.

Wayne Muller, in his book Sabbath, writes about Henri Nouwen.

Henri Nouwn was a dear friend of mine, a brother, priest, mentor.   He was also a fiercely astute observer of our worried, overfilled lives.  Henri insisted that the noise of our lives made us deaf, unable to hear when we are called, or from which direction.  Henri said our lives have become absurd — because in the word absurd we find the Latin word surdus, which means deaf.  In our spiritual lives we need to listen to God who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear in our hurried deafness.

On the other hand, Henri was fond of reminding me that the word obedient comes from the Latin word audire, which means “to listen.” Henri believed that a spiritual life was a pilgrimage from absurdity to obedience — from deafness to listening.  If we surrender fully into Sabbath time, we can slowly move from a life so filled with noisy worries that we are deaf to the gifts and blessings of our life, to a life in which we can listen to God, Jesus, all the Buddhas and saints and sages and messengers who seek to guide and teach us.

The world seduces us with an artificial urgency that requires us to respond without listening to what is most deeply true.  In Sabbath time, we cultivate a sense of eternity where we truly rest, and feel how all things can wait, and turn them gently in the hand until we feel their shape, and know the truth of them.

The theology of progress forces us to act before we are ready. We speak before we know what to say. We respond before we feel the truth of what we know.  In the process, we inadvertently create suffering, heaping imprecision upon inaccuracy, until we are all buried und a mountain of misperception.  But Sabbath says, Be still. Stop.  There is no rush to get to the end, because we are never finished.  Take time to rest, and eat, and drink, and be refreshed.  And in the gentle rhythm of that refreshment, listen to the sound the heart makes as it speaks the quiet truth of what is needed. (p.85)

Lord Jesus, teach me to listen.

Seeking Joyful Rest

Leslee Donovan Painting

As I leave on vacation, I am reflecting on this painting by Leslie Donovan, a talented member of Resurrection.  The simple joy of children being together is what I think vacation and Sabbath are all about.  The children are smiling as they prepare to share a meal together.  The painting invites me to share in that joy and to be present in the moment.  I am encouraged to be at peace in the simple pleasures of life.

God gave us the Sabbath for our benefit.  It is  a means to restore and revive us in our relationships with God, others and creation.

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them, but rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it (Exodus 20:8,11)

Wayne Muller has written an excellent book called Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives.  In a chapter called “A New Beginning” he writes,

The ancient rabbis teach that on the seventh day, God created menuha — tranquility, serenity, peace, and repose — rest, in the deepest possible sense of fertile, healing, stillness. Until the Sabbath, creation was unfinished.  Only after the birth of menuha, only with tranquility and rest, was the circle of creation made full and complete. (p. 37)

This week I am seeking the menuha, the peace of God.

How do find rest?

Lord Jesus, grant me rest in you.