Sabbath Rest

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Opening Hymn

‘Praise to the Holiest’

Bible Reading

Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NLT)

“12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do. 15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.”

Homily

I wonder if you make time for proper rest each week? Not the sort of squeezing in a few moments of chill out time on a weekend, but genuine rest. Modern life is so busy, yet we know from numerous health studies that stress is not only bad for us physically but mentally also, and one of the best ways of combating it is with proper rest. Now this might not mean ceasing from everything entirely, it might mean doing instead those things that you enjoy, which give you energy, for example I am terrible at sitting reading a book, but an hour weeding on the allotment can make me feel so much better.

The ancient wisdom from the Israelites was to follow God’s example of rest on the seventh day. This meant their whole society had to be organised to enable that to happen. Sabbath rest doesn’t happen by accident, it does take planning and the same is true today. Now it may be that Sunday is restful and spiritual activities such as going to church, either online or in person are restful for you, great, but if they aren’t do consider looking for other times in your week to find that rest.

I find I need space to listen to God and to hear what I am really thinking or feeling. Often, I might go for a walk, you might find other things helpful in slowing down. Although a Sabbath needn’t be all day it is healthy to find one day a week when the jobs of life, be they paid work or unpaid, such as caring for the home can be put to one side – a time when we can make space for each other, space to listen and to love, space to pray and be made whole once more. It is through these regular rhythms that we will be better able to cope with life, and better able to listen to God. So, this week why not plan some sabbath time and see just how God may speak through it…

Intercessions

Living Lord,
we bring to you the needs of the world.

We pray for those who consider themselves to be strangers
and outcasts.
Help us always to welcome the stranger, whatever the cost,
not sitting comfortably and ignoring people we think
don’t fit in, not taking the easy way.
May our homes and churches be places of welcome,
hospitality and love,
that all may have the chance to recognise and see you
in the warmth of those around them.

We pray for countries where food is in short supply.
May we farm sustainably and eat sensibly,
so there is enough to feed the whole planet.
May we not look only after ourselves but seek to offer
the same opportunities to all.
Help us not to be selfish, but always to consider others.
Lord, we long for the day when all in society will be equal.
May we be a part of making that happen.

We pray for those who are lonely and have no one
to eat with them.
May we open our doors to our neighbours, so that love
and friendship can flourish, and all can enjoy the feast.

We remember those isolating, the unwell, the fearful and the bereaved,

In the quiet we remember those known to us now

Loving God bring your blessing, healing and peace,

We ask in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Adapted from: Roots on the web

Closing Hymn

Be still my soul

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