Thursday, April 29, 2010

Play Day

Chapter 5 (titled Play Day) was a fun chapter in the book Sabbath by Dan Allender. If you missed chapters 1-4 see links below. Here are some of the highlights straight from Dan:

- Sabbath is a play day. A day to celebrate the superabundance of God’s creative love and glory.

- Sabbath redefines how we work, why we work, and how we create freedom through our work.

- There should be more risk and danger on the Sabbath than any other day.

- To see the day as a day of play we must give ourselves to something or someone totally. This can be seen as both a pledge and a betrayal. We are pledging ourselves to God and rest while betraying our commitment to work.

- To get more out of the Sabbath we must learn to desire more. We get of God what we desire. How much of Him do you desire? The more we desire, the better the journey.

- Sabbath doesn’t deny death, it seeks to celebrate life.

Short and sweet. Good stuff here.

Previous Posts

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sabbath in beauty, sensuality, and feasting

A lot going on in life right now. It seems I've had a real taste of what it means to be a pastor these last few weeks. A wedding, several funerals and hospital runs have kept me moving. I now return to a book I'm slowly working my way through. Here are the previous posts from the previous chapters if you need to catch up.

Previous Posts
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3

Chapter 4 looks at Sabbath as a day to enjoy communion with God, others, and creation. It’s a day where we live out Psalm 34:8. Dan wants the Sabbath to push us towards nature and the examining of God’s creation in such a way as to take our breath away. To really understand this Dan explores a theology of beauty, sensuality, and feasting.

Beauty – True beauty, according to Dan, reflects the unity and diversity of the Trinity. Three distinct persons, but one God. Something different, but something uniting in each. There is an ultimate form of beauty that helps us understand what true beauty is; Jesus Christ. The incarnation is a beautiful thing! Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension are to be marveled at. To really appreciate the beauty of God becoming man, along with God’s creation, we must approach with awe. Awe as a sense that this is something very special. This is a gift I’ve been given. All this wonder and awe over something so beautiful should lead us to desire God more. Sabbath is a good place to seek beauty, which in turn could/should lead us to seeking God.

Sensuality – Dan contends the Sabbath should be the most sensual day of the week. What does he mean? All our senses should be aroused. The Sabbath should be a celebration of smell, touch, hearing, seeing, and tasting. We might be a little suspicious about such talk. After all if it feels good it’s gotta be sin, right? We can’t trust our bodies because they are sinful. If we suppress our senses by not letting them enjoy Sabbath, and consider them unspiritual, and pay no attention to them, we end up neglecting our whole self. If we do that we lose something of our true selves and what it means to be human. Didn’t Jesus tell us to love God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength (our physical bodies where our senses are)? The Spirit living in us is there to redeem our physical bodies too (which includes our senses), so why not open them up to the best and give them a Sabbath to enjoy?

Feasting – Our meal times during the Sabbath can remind us of the great wedding feast coming when Christ returns. We will sit at a table with Him and our fellow brothers and sisters and share a meal together. Our times around the table on the Sabbath can foreshadow this if we let them. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to sit around and talk about Jesus’ return or communion, but that we sit around and enjoy each other’s company. We talk. We tell stories. We listen. We laugh. We cry. We take great joy in just being gathered together. This is feasting on the Sabbath.

This book has me excited about finding ways to really enjoy and celebrate a Sabbath day. I have all kinds of ideas churning in my head. The hardest part is implementing them. It always is when you try and put anything in scripture into practice. This is why Sabbath is considered one of the spiritual disciplines. It takes work to make it work.

- Anything special your family does for your Sabbath day?
- Any special meals you eat?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Praise the Spirit. He is moving!

We had an incredible worship service on Resurrection Sunday (Easter). Six gave testimonies to Christ’s transformative power and were baptized, the Gospel was preached, and communion was served.

He has risen!

I was curious about how things went for you this past Sunday? I’ve heard a lot of good stories from different churches and I’m excited about what the Holy Spirit is doing. He is on the move. Would love to hear what happened at your church.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Blessings

For Lent this year I’ve been trying to read the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) at least once a week. No doubt most of you are familiar with the beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-10 that kick-off this sermon. You could probably throw verses 11 and 12 in there too, but they seem to just add to verse 10.

3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

My questions for you are:

- How do you interpret the beatitudes?
- Are these attitudes we should strive for as Christians?
- Are these attitudes we have to have to be Christian?
- Do these even have anything to do with our walk with Christ?
- Is there another way to interpret and look at these?