Time to Pause // Time to Celebrate

At our Wednesday morning communions in Lent, we are exploring the idea of Sabbath, using many ideas from a 2005 Lent Course called Life Balance by Robert Warren and Sue Mayfield.

Here are the resources for the first two weeks.

Wednesday 4-March
1 of 5 — Time to Pause
Exodus 20:8-11 and Mark 1:29-38

Background: These passages reinforce the value of the Sabbath as God’s gift to us. It is not meant to be restrictive, but liberating, a time for people to find new life and wholeness, and to allow us to continue being a blessing. Today’s concern for a good “work-life” balance, with many people feeling under stress as they try to fit too much into their lives, could be seen as reflecting this Biblical concern for our human need for “Sabbath” breaks and for a varied rhythm to our lives. Sabbath keeping in our twenty-first century lives might include Sabbath days – not necessarily a Sunday; Sabbath moments – times during the day when you can be still; Sabbath attitudes – learning to be aware of, and thankful for, the goodness of God; Sabbath seasons – seeing holidays, career breaks, even times of illness or unemployment, as opportunities to learn and grow, to be refreshed and changed.

Challenge: Think of your own life. What effect does today’s 24/7 society have on you – both good and bad? How would you like to change the pattern of your week if you could? Think of one thing you would like to do to change your life during Lent so that it has more “Sabbath” in it.

Some ideas for further REFLECTION

You might like to check out our Tuesday evening Lent course
From Pancakes to Palm Crosses
Forty Days of Mindfulness

Wednesday 11-March
2 of 5 — Time to Celebrate
Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Philippians 4:4-8

Background: We will use the lengthy passage from Genesis creatively as part of the morning worship. We will be looking at it not so much in scientific or historical terms but rather to help us to understand how God sees his creation. The repeated refrain is “God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good.” This was an unusual view in the ancient world. Most religions believed that the gods did not really care about the world in this way. But the God of the Bible delights in his creation. In the letter to the Philippians, Paul encourages his hearers to rejoice, to celebrate. Sabbath is an act of celebration in imitation of our creator God.

Challenge: Paul’s hope is that the church at Philippi will feel secure in God’s love for them too, so that they can meet the difficulties of their lives with trust and thankfulness too. Do you tend to be optimistic or pessimistic? Is the glass “half-full” or “half-empty”? Why do you think this is? What or who influenced your attitude to life? How could you learn new habits of thankfulness? Looking back on your journey through life, what would you most want to celebrate? What about when you don’t feel like celebrating, when things are going wrong? Does celebration always mean having a smile on your face?  Does worship at church feel like a celebration, or a chore? What makes it feel that way?

Some ideas for further REFLECTION

Two articles you might like to read:
Living a Life of Celebration and Take Time to Celebrate

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