We live in a stressed out, chaotic, frustrating uneasy world. One only has to read the headlines or watch the news to know that craziness abides in our everyday existence. Our bodies eventually begin to show the physical signs of stress: High blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, over eating, and many more medical conditions are directly or indirectly related to stress. We all handle the stress of our lives differently. We all have been told to “just have more faith.” There has been a stigma attached Christians that is your life is stressful you lack faith. Nothing could be further from the truth. When we look at Jesus as he cleansed the temple and prayed in the garden before being arrested, Jesus had stress. Stress is part of life. We cannot avoid it, destroy it, or pray it away. So we must learn ways and means to deal with it. But God did not just leave it up to us to figure it out. First we are reminded that God creates out of chaos. Out of chaos, God created the heaven and earth and called it good. It was out of the chaos of sin, that God provided redemption, reconciliation, and salvation. God works best in creating out of stress and chaos.
We discussed why it is important to take a Sabbath or to rest as individuals. We uncovered how God rested and if it was important enough for the Creator of the universe to rest, maybe we should also. We also pointed out that God just didn’t simple take a day of rest but made that day Holy. A day set aside like no other day of the week. God also commanded his people to keep the Sabbath as part of God’s covenant with His people. It’s a time to rebuild relationships, spend intimate time with those we love, and not allow the world to dictate us. We all could use a little rest and better relationships. God instructed us to take a Sabbath or day of rest witch is all agreeable on an individual basis but He doesn’t stop there. God instructs us to take a Sabbath as a community of faith as well. All communities need a time for renewal, re-energized, and a revision of passion. It is a break from doing business as usual. Can you imagine if we took a time out in our community to just refocus? What if businesses, political leaders, social workers, teachers, educators, and religious leaders put aside all agendas, ideals, and opinions and focused all of our energy on one single issue that plagues our community? Can you imagine if our whole community that stop just saying “what’s wrong” and concentrates on specific concrete programs, outreach, and service. A break to evaluate if our efforts are truly helping or enabling those we are called to serve. As a faith community we need intentional periods of Sabbath to stop, listen to God’s instruction, reevaluate our efforts, and define our true calling in our community. God desires any community to take a Sabbath. Maybe it’s time we all put that into practice and follow God’s lead.