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Eric’s Sunday Sermon; Let Us Talk About Sunday and The Sabbath
Maybe every sunset is your Sabbath?
Not just a day
Let us start off with a really amazing statement: "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mk 2:27). That concept can launch a thousand fruitful discussions and so it will launch this “Sunday” sermon. Let us get one thing out of the way right here and right now at the outset. Sunday and Sabbath are not synonymous. Sunday is quite truly just another day of the week. Sabbath for those of you wondering is: a day of spiritual reflection and abstinence from your job, kept by Jewish people from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and traditionally by Christians on Sunday. Did you know that North Koreans take Sunday off. China takes Sunday off. Apparently all communist countries take a day off on Sunday. So we hope that that dispels any notion that Sunday and the Sabbath are the same.
Back to the amazing that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. How extraordinary. This encapsulates the notion that man is being served by God. That is an amazing concept. It is a perfect place of confluence for the agnostic and the lapsed Catholic to find wonderful agreement. If there is a God then the Godliest attribute would be to serve mankind. Not this wild and wooly notion that God is like a man with vengeance and a large lightning bolt at the ready to incinerate any poor soul that goes astray. The appropriate and timeless revelation that God does what God does in order to serve man is a game changer. The idea of a Sabbath made for man is a key to unlocking a door into a viewing room where all matters are seen in perspective and through the concept of servitude and love. Who would have thought that the Sabbath idea was such a cornerstone for God setting the example of how to live.
Kind of a piano bar lounge rendition. The pics are great. Maybe a good song to sing in the shower.
Maybe just a time to hold hands and count blessings
Let us keep the focus
You see it is all about us and yet not about us at all. We are shown the compassion and mercy in order that we may show the compassion and mercy. We are given a day of rest so that we may give others a day of rest. This whole peek into a Godly love starts out, biblically that is, with a most unlikely scenario. The story goes that God worked hard to build our world including us. Then he was tired and took a day of rest. Now just think about that for a second and we have two take aways. First God would not get tired. Come on now He is God. So they are not talking about “tired” and “rest” like we do on Friday night. There is a tired that one must know. It is not a pooped out kind of tired. It is not a bone weary feeling. It is not “all stressed out”. It is closer, yet not exactly the same, as when we say we are tired of playing this game and want to play another. Not a boredom, but rather an emotional segue, into doing the next indicated thing that we look forward to doing. Not because we are worn out by the current activity but rather that we want to move on to the next more enjoyable activity. And second that rest is not synonymous with potato couching it all drunk on Sunday afternoon. Rest in this sense is more akin to rejuvenation through reflection and peace of mind. It is not a rest from productivity but rather a redirection of productivity towards personal well being.
Here is a fun one for you. I like to hang out on Sunday all week long. I do not mean by that that I am not working, but rather that I bring some Sunday with me that accompanies me through my week. Around here we lean a little too far in the direction of spirituality and less in the direction of material productivity. Of course not the better half around here, otherwise how would we find time and resources to preach? Does Sunday take care of humans as it is supposed to? I do not think so.
Let us talk religion and tradition. Spouse says: “are you going to church today honey?” And is consternated and visually upset over the equivocal response. Family gathers for a large cooked Sunday breakfast every week no matter what. No air conditioning and it is 88 at 8am – breakfast is still cooked and kitchen is 101 degrees by 9am. But by golly they had their ding dong meal. It should be somewhat obvious by looking at these two situations. The one spouse actually spends 3 hours in reading and studying scripture, meditation and prayer and then writing out thoughts on his restful time in reflection and communion with his God. But avoids traffic, dress up and socialness of church. Most of the family is forced to go out into the world seeking refuge from the heat instead of finding refuge in their own home. Tradition and religion can in fact be placed above our concept of rest on Sunday.
There is something eerily haunting about this performance. I do not know this fellow but he sure can bellow!
My elder son sure can draw my youngest son.
We are so blessed.
We take a brief step back and look at the amazing statement. The translation is not about humankind, mankind or society or a church or even a family. The translation is for an individual man. “made for man”. So the Sabbath was not made for society, traditions or religions but for a man to rest. It is not easy to divine wisdom in these matters. We look and Mary and Martha and that whole deal about cooking and preparing verses “hanging out with Jesus on Sunday”. We have got to walk that line between getting done to earthly business and raising up to heavenly business. There are no easy answers but what I said earlier stands, “Does Sunday take care of humans as it is supposed to? I do not think so.”
Eric’s Sunday Sermons are not in the business of telling you what to do. We are not in the business of business at all. And we sure as heck are not in the business of directing your conduct or life. We share our own experience, strength and hope. We assume that we have more time to sit around thinking about this stuff than you do. Our only qualifications for preaching this stuff is that we do. (Although please “pay” attention to the offering plate as it circulates ;-) So we go out on a limb here with no credentials other than our love. We direct you to take more of a Sunday and more Sundays. More specifically we insist and demand that you take a Sabbath as often as you can.
And we circle once more back to the scenario where the amazing statement was made. This Son of God guy, Jesus, ministerially loved somebody on the Sabbath. In this case His love was made manifest via a healing of a physical ailment. That really ticked off some dudes that made a living by forcing people into their own houses of worship and then telling them how to act. In short they were telling people just how to rest on Sabbath and threatening that if they did not do it their certain way that hell on earth would befall the sinner, along with a hell for ever after. Jesus let them know that the idea of resting was a gift. (also check out Luke 14) If I were to show you how to rest, or if I were to command you how to rest, what would be the difference? If you are reading this sermon, you are going to darn well rest the way you decide no matter how I communicate it. Maybe more resistance with an order, maybe not. So let me just relate what I will do to rest on Sunday. Shucks, I already did, I wrote this sermon.
A worthy subject for a book.
How about you?
Would you like to change your day off to Monday?
Count your blessings
In researching for this article it was found that many communists are required to pay some sort of homage to their leader on their holidays. Wow, what would it have been like to be forced to go pray to God on certain days - or else. Certain folks in certain churches know just what I am talking about. We sure have a lot to be thankful for.