God said, “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” – Exodus 20:8
Dear People of St. David’s,
I pray that you and yours are safe and well and that you are finding ways to tend to your faith by spending some time with God each day. It can be such a delight to make the effort to spend time with God and to experience God’s presence. A friend of mine says that one of the greatest gifts of the Christian life is the invitation and reality of fellowship with God. I pray that we can all have fellowship with God every day.
Fellowship with God is one of the patterns of Jesus’ life that we hear on Sundays and that we paid particular attention to during the year when our theme was Living like Jesus. Jesus had a clear pattern in His life that balanced time with God with activity: Time with God for forty days before starting His ministry. Time with God after feeding thousands of people. Time with God before teaching and healing and drawing people into the life with God. Time with God as He prepared to go to the cross to save the world.
Jesus seemed to use that time to be drawn into fellowship with God and in that time, God empowered Jesus to accomplish all that He did. Though we all joked that year that Jesus had an advantage over we “mere mortals” since He was also God, all of us have the opportunity to live by that pattern and it is the best pattern of life I know.
When God was giving out the commandments, one of the first commandments was to keep a Sabbath Day holy or separate. God knows that we can’t work 24/7 and that in keeping to a pattern of rest and work, of spending time with God and being about our daily lives, we would be renewed and empowered. That’s where the idea of taking a weekend comes from.
We also need to practice Sabbath Rest in our lives as more than once a week. We do that with vacations. We do that with spending time away. We do that with continuing education. We sometimes get to do that as an actual Sabbatical.
I’m starting a time of focused fellowship with God in this month of February as I am taking a small piece of the six-month Sabbatical, originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, which has been deferred due to the pandemic. I will be away from St. David’s beginning February 1 and will return on March 1. There will be rest involved, but I am also working on a four-week course on the Sermon on the Mount and renewing some of the teachings I’ve been offering for Adult Confirmation, Spiritual Gifts, and Servant Leadership. I’m looking forward to this time away and ask that you keep me in your prayers. You will be in my daily prayers as you are always.
Remember to take Sabbath rest and, most importantly, to rest in God’s presence each day. I know that God desires for us to spend time with God and if we will, then God will renew us and empower us.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. W. Frank Allen