So there is still a Sabbath rest for God’s people.
God rested from his work.
Those who enjoy God’s rest also rest from their works.
So let us make every effort to enjoy that rest.
(Hebrews 4:9 NIRV)
You may remember that last August, we joined other congregations across our synod in observing a month-long sabbath. After receiving Bishop Barbins’ invitation to do so again this summer, our Church Council has designated the month of July as HTLC’s congregational sabbath. Routine committee and ministry team business meetings will be suspended to allow time for our leaders to rest.
God’s people need to remember that slowing down to rest is as important as work. As Donna Schaper says in her book, Sabbath Keeping:
“I am keenly aware of the need for sabbath keeping because everywhere I go people urge me to go faster, to do more. Keeping sabbath keeps me sane. I walk, pray, sing, garden, worship – and do so with a discipline and vigor that keeps play and praise in my life. God is good to me. Sabbath keeping is a spiritual strategy: it is a kind of judo. The world’s commands are heavy; we respond with light moves. The world says work; we play. The world says go fast; we go slow. These light moves carry sabbath into our days, and God into our lives.
“Our culture urges us to think we need more of just about everything. In fact, we need less. Keeping sabbath is a conscious choice to restrict input. It is a decision not to work in all the available time, but rather intentionally to play in some of the time we have. Keeping sabbath is a method for focus, rest, and play in a life otherwise dominated and tyrannized by scatteredness, fatigue, and work. Keeping sabbath allows us to say yes to a life that is grounded in God’s grace, and then to receive more than we could ever have imagined of rest and play. For sabbath keeping allows us time to love, and thus restores to us the joy of our salvation.”
Although morning devotions on Facebook Live will be suspended for the month of July, a special online daily devotional will be made available.
May our sabbath month provide those who so faithfully lead our congregation the refreshment they need as we prepare for a new season of ministry in Jesus’ name! †
Blessings! Pastor Becki