Free & Fit - Searching for a Sabbath at Seminary - A Homily by Tim Cheux
Free & Fit - Searching for a Sabbath at Seminary - A Homily by Tim Cheux
Opening Prayer: In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit. Let us Pray. Lord we ask that you would lead us to a sabbath day of rest, to keep it Holy, not to a one hour nap, not to a twenty a minute centering prayer, not to an app with good classical music or to a better diary organizer on my phone. Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior, In Jesus name. Amen
Pick a number, any number between one and fourteen. Do you have your number? Great! Hang onto it. The number fourteen is important! Why is fourteen important? Fourteen is divisible by seven two times, this means you can put two sevens into fourteen. Two sevens are relevant because there are fifty-two weeks in a year, five add two equals to seven! There are seven days in a week, so seven is an important number. There are three hundred and sixty-five days in a year. Three plus six plus five is equals to fourteen.
So, one week of seven goes into all the days of the year and fifty-two weeks of the year if added up together is equals to the number of days in the week so seven and fifty-two and seven and three hundred and sixty-five.We haven’t even got to 24 hours in a day! Where to begin? This is so confusing and irrelevant, but the day which you take your sabbath on is the seventh day. Why then is seven significant? If we are realistic as Church leaders, we cannot take Sunday as our day off. Therefore, we are automatically working on the sabbath. This is wrong according to Jewish law and we should stop all Church services, preaching and teaching because we cannot work on the Sabbath day. We must respect it and keep it Holy. So then Sunday must surely be the first day of the week and the Sabbath is Saturday. Much like Jewish tradition surely, we should prepare a fest on Friday and take rest on Saturday as this will be the most logical day for the true Sabbath of a Priest.
What do you think? Do you really believe that a Sabbath day is Saturday? Its daring to ask, but how can we respect the Sabbath and keep it Holy if we are not being Holy at Church. What do we define as being Holy? What do we define as being Holy at work in a Christian Church leader context? How do we formulate from this text then that the idea that our salvation is at stake because we did not take a sabbath? Hang on a minute. Can I see a show of hands? Who this semester has had a full twenty-four sabbath day and not worked? I mean you have not picked up a plough, sent a text message, updated your Instagram page, or sent an email in one whole day. That is a sabbath. Take it and keep it Holy. Spring Break next week. Take a Sabbath Day.
What is the Trouble with this Text? It's not easy, in any context to take a Sabbath Day of Rest. Our historical, cultural, and modern contexts all ask questions around the concept of what, where, why, and how is a Sabbath kept Holy. Yet I wish to unpack this specific passage, choose just two characters, and focus on how we, as Christian Church leaders, can learn from them in this selected passage for today's message. If you are taking notes, like titles and believe in naming something I have entitled this message: “Healing from God hands: Not our hands. God's hands”.
A.J. Swoboda, pastor of Theophilus Church in Portland, Oregon said he decided to preach about Sabbath a few years ago when he noticed the people in his congregation were tired and in need of rest. So, was he? “Our souls and our bodies and our spirits absolutely need it,” he said? “It’s a very threatening biblical concept because it completely undermines all of the assumptions of what we have come to believe being an American is all about, which is being productive, (Banner, 2019)” So then how do we as American Preachers preserve the Sabbath?
In Today’s text we meet Jesus right in the middle of his Ministry. He is challenging religious leaders, breaking religious laws, healing the sick and proclaiming the good news of the Gospel. We need to be reminded of this. The industry we are in, the work that we do and the people we speak too about Good News. Let me say it again its GOOD NEWS! So, what is the trouble with not taking a sabbath? Why not just work every day, earn as much money as possible and just forget when you moved into your current apartment, last took a holiday or remember a day where you were not on zoom. Did you notice anything different about how difficult it is to take a sabbath during covid? I used to watch shows on my Sabbath now I do not even know where to begin if I could get a sabbath day in my schedule.
Hopefully, I can go for a swim in the sea. That is what I did last time I had an afternoon for a Sabbath. What did you do last time you took a Sabbath Day? We cannot remember. Well the Bible says that we are to “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. (Genesis, the Fourth Commandment.)”What problem do we face in the world? It is simple technology. We have so badly lost sight of the Sabbath that millennials are now practicing it more than middle aged religious Priests!
“The term Tech Shabbat is a modern twist on an ancient religious practice, which is attracting the attention of burned-out millennials and others who are exhausted by trying to keep up in an increasingly connected and fast-paced world (Banner, 2019).”
We need to reclaim the Sabbath, dedicate to the Lord and keep it Holy. Does it matter if it is on Saturday or Sunday? Or even Wednesday or Thursday? The article selected to review for this sermon identified a piece from the Banner, a periodical from the Religious World News Service, that claims that many Church leaders are now taking different days of the week off as their sabbath to protect themselves from religious burn out due to not being able to actually physically take a sabbath on a weekend day due to it being naturally the busiest time of the Church weekly calendar.What is God’s Action in this Text? Let us be clear Jesus is God. In the name of God, the Father, in the name of God the Son and in the name of God the Holy Spirit. It is not easy for us a Christians to say that Jesus is God but here in this text Jesus is clearly demonstrating his divinity and his submission, surrender and fulfillment in following out his Fathers will. When challenged by the religious leaders Jesus refers them back to themselves and to the ultimate reality that all fall short of the glory of God and are subject to God the Father’s judgement at the end of their days.
Yet he still performs a miracle, witnesses to thousands of people and continues to challenge, convict and transform somebody eighteen years in bondage to being set free, healed and overcome from all her infirmity. Hallelujah Jesus! Do we need any more affirmations about what Jesus is trying to teach us here? The underlying factor is the jubilation of the fact that Jesus sets people free on the Sabbath day, but that is exactly what the Church is meant to do.In order for us to fulfill the great commission we are to heal the sick. We cannot proclaim the year of the Lords favor on Sunday because that would be working and if we are working, we are breaking Jewish law. Yet here we are, seeing God himself break Jewish law and save souls on the Sabbath.
The very thing, we as Christian leaders would be considered as work in God's hands is healing. Not works, but healing. Healing in the hands of Jesus.Finally, what is Gods Action in the World? God is diminishing in the world as his children are not taking the Sabbath seriously. We are far too caught up in our own significance to be conscious of our health, spiritual fatigue and potential burn out from not taking a Sabbath. We have to take a seat, not a stand, and sit down and Worship the
God of heaven. We have to Praise, Worship, honor, and Adore our Lord Jesus Christ. Father forgive as we have sinned against you in thought word and deed, by what we have done and left undone, said and left unsaid and thought and left unthought. Teach, guide, counsel and direct us to taking a Sabbath in Jesus name. Amen
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Article: Accessed Online. Thursday 8th October 2020.Web Address: https://www.thebanner.org/news/2019/02/the-science-of-sabbath-how-people-are-rediscovering-rest-and-claiming-its-benefits.
Love & Blessings F&F Team
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