Sabbath Keeping

“Please silence your phone as we prepare for worship,” the liturgist reminds the congregation each Sunday. We hope that for the next hour we might focus on God. But my phone is my connection for ministry. And you? 

I had the privilege of participating in a Navajo Blessing Way. As part of that ceremony we placed items of importance to us on a blanket to be blessed. Some placed photos of family, a Bible, an address book, and reminders of ministries they served. I, like a few other participants, placed my phone for it contains photos of family, Bibles, my address book. My phone connects me with members of the congregation that I serve and the larger Church no matter how far apart we might be physically. Turning off my phone separates me from ministry.

On the other hand a phone can be a distraction from ministry, a means of neglecting those physically near while connecting with someone else. A cell phone is especially problematic distraction from taking sabbath rest for unlike people it provides instant response to each commands. Instead of the enjoying the world directly before us, we observe it through a small image on a device.

Cell phones are especially dangerous for they go anywhere and bring work with them. The danger of not taking a sabbath rest is to deny Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath.

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for humanity,
not humanity for the Sabbath.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
— Mark 2:27-28

I will have more  to say about Mark 2:23 through 3:6 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church on Sunday June 3rd, at 10 AM.

Robert Shaw, Pastor

Music Notes

Psalm 42 inspired the words of this week’s anthem. And after the Psalmist explains that his longing comes from enemies denying the LORD, he continues to seek to praise God. This week’s choral arrangement of “As the Deer” by John F. Wilson adds depth to the familiar song by Martin Nystrom.

The Glory to God hymnal notes that in early Christian communities people would sing or chant Psalm 42 on the way to be baptized. Thus some bapisteries were decorated with deer drinking water.

A Tip for Parents

The ministry of the prophet Samuel began when he was a young boy because his mentor had encouraged him to listen for the LORD. When we are busy doing our own things the noise of life can readily crowd out the still small voice of God.

Prayer walks are designed to keep our bodies just busy enough so our hearts and minds can focus on God. We will have our own prayer walk this week.

How do you encourage your child to enjoy moments of silence?