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Come as a stranger, leave as a friend

Better is one hand full of quietness

than two hands full of toil and striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:6

Many times, at funerals we read popular verses from the book of Ecclesiastes about there being “A Time.” A time for everything under heaven. A time to reap, a time to sow, a time to love, a time to tear, a time to mend…I am sure you are all familiar with this passage.  

If, however, one was to read the entire book of Ecclesiastes, one would find some great wisdom about chasing the wind or chasing after success. The book talks about how important it is to enjoy life, to eat drink and be merry (Ecclesiastes 9:7), because God wants us to be happy!

As we approach the summer months, where things slow down a bit, I hope you will find some sabbath time for yourselves. To follow the wisdom of Ecclesiastes.

Many of us can recall a time when “blue laws” were a thing. No stores were open on Sunday in order to observe a day for worship. This was abolished as the true Sabbath is on Saturday (7th day) and merchants, especially Jewish ones, did not feel they needed to observe a Christian sabbath when theirs had never been observed. I certainly understand that, but I am sure many of you would agree it sure was nice when everything was closed on Sunday. There were more young people in church. There were no competing athletic schedules, or work schedules.   There was never a rush to leave church because it was a great opportunity to see friends. Spiritual interconnectedness and bonds were formed when Church was a vital part of the week. Sunday evening included time for visiting family and languishing after a big meal and watching “The Wonderful World of Disney” or “Mutual Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” I would say everyone was well equipped for the week ahead after a day of rest such as this.  

The world has certainly changed since then, but the need for sabbath time is more important now than ever. We may find ourselves tempted to read books like “Coping Skills: Tools and Techniques for Every Stressful Situation (1)” or “Nine Spiritual Stress Management Techniques (made up title)”, but Jesus offers us really simple practices for rest.

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says “Come to me all ye who are weary, and I will give you rest.” In Luke 5:16, we read that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Let us find sabbath space this summer. Maybe we can learn from our Jewish brothers and sisters. Try to get everything done on Friday to enjoy a carefree Saturday, or whatever day works for you. Write your sabbath day on your calendars. Put away the electronic device you use the most, or do not use the appliance you use the most. Take your day! It is after all one of the Ten Commandments.   

Pastor Val

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  1. So many swirling memories and thoughts reading this, most wonderful. Here’s a thought, instead of looking outside of oneself (self-help books), why not spend the time inside oneself, or with family. A walk in the summer woods, enjoying the water/ocean, simply closing your eyes and feeling God’s love. No searching needed; we already have it. Take it and enjoy. This moment comes once, but God’s love is eternal!

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