Monday, April 30, 2012

Looking Ahead to May 6, 2012 -- 5th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Exodus 20:8-11
  • Deuteronomy 5:12-15 
  • John 15:1-8 
The Sermon title is Take A Break! 

Early Thoughts: Think back over the last two weeks. How many days of rest did you have? How many days were there when you bought nothing?

When I was in my early teens, I remember a great debate about Sunday shopping in Alberta.  It seems so quaint now, given that many places are open 364 days a year.  AT one point, less than 30 years ago (and much more recently in some parts of the country) we still had a feeling that 7 day a week commerce was not a good thing.

Nowadays we seem to have made the opposite decision.  Now it seems odd to many people to contemplate NOT being able to shop 7 days a week.  But which was the better way?

Why does Scripture command, not encourage but command, us to stop everything (and yes that means everything) for a day every week?  I think it is about health and priorities.  It is not healthy to try and go full speed all the time.  But that is commonly understood (if not practiced) these days.  Sabbath means more than that.  Sabbath is not only about resting.  Sabbath is about stepping out of the whole economic system.  And so Sabbath-keeping makes a very clear statement about where our priorities lie.

Look up to the questions I asked earlier.  What do your answers say about you?  Are we able to step out of the need to be constantly productive (Sabbath keeping is not about not doing our daily work, it is about a complete day of rest--no laundry or toilet scrubbing either)?  Are we able to put off that purchase until the next day (or plan ahead and make the purchase the day before) and not touch wallet or credit cards for 24 hours?

And what would happen if we did?  Some voices claim that a day off has negative economic effects.  But really would overall purchases be that much less?  What would happen to us as individuals?

The old laws about keeping Sabbath (or the Lord's Day) were based on an assumption that is no longer valid.  But the idea of Sabbath-keeping as a life practice is still a good idea.  The difference it that now WE have to make the choice.  Are we willing to take a break?

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