What Others Say

Thank you for writing the article in Saturday's edition of New Castle News. It was very good and very interesting. You bring it all to light, making everything very simple and easy to understand. - Kathy L. - New Castle, Pennsylvania

Monday, November 1, 2010

Freedom for the Frenzied Life 11-1-2010

We live in a time-crunched world where life is lived on the run. Millions pull out of their drive-ways in the pre-dawn dark and navigate their way onto freeways while munching breakfast burritos and egg-mcmuffins. They listen to traffic reports and the morning news between cell phone calls. It is a frenzied start to a frenzied day. Weary from long hours at the work place, the same drivers re-enter the stream of traffic for a slow return to the suburbs on clogged freeways. They make their way home in the gathering darkness past memorized billboards that measure their movement and neon signs that light the way. Weekends are filled with a hundred errands, second jobs, T-ball, soccer, football, baseball and the race to cram in as much recreation as possible before starting the Monday through Friday routine all over again. Some squeeze church attendance into an already full schedule that has no margins.

Richard Foster analyzed it like this: "We are trapped in a rat race, not just of acquiring money, but also of meeting family and business obligations. We pant through an endless series of appointments and duties. This problem is especially acute for those who want to do what is right. With frantic fidelity we respond to all calls to service, distressingly unable to distinguish the voice of Christ from that of human manipulators." We are increasingly depressed and suicidal. We have turned to alcohol and drugs in a desperate effort to cope. We know deep down that something isn’t working. There must be a better way.

Most people recognize the ten commandments as foundational to human conduct and life. But somewhere along the way we reduced the ten commandments to nine. We eliminated the fourth commandment as irrelevant and archaic: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” A half-century ago, businesses were closed on Sunday and sporting events recognized Sunday as a day for worship. All that has changed. Today our calendars are filled up to a 24/7 frenzy.

When Jesus said that man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath was made for man, he did not erase the need for the Sabbath in our lives. Instead, he underscored the importance of the Sabbath to all of us for mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.

In his book, Living the Sabbath, Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight, Norman Wirzba writes, “Put simply, Sabbath discipline introduces us to God’s own ways of joy and delight. … When our work and our play, our exertion and our rest flow seamlessly from this deep desire to give thanks to God, the totality of our living --- cooking, eating, cleaning, preaching, parenting, building, repairing, healing, creating --- becomes one sustained and ever expanding act of worship.”

Sabbath requires time for rest, silence, solitude and worship, but it is more than a day of rest. It is way of life that is filled with wonder, worship, awe and delight. When Jesus declared himself the Lord of the Sabbath, he offered to us a better way. He said, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest to your souls.”

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