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Archive for July, 2018

It feels like summer is flying by, but if you’re still searching for balance, there is plenty of time left to pause and find it. This article originally published in the July-August 2018 Evangelist offers some ways to help. 

By Jean Hansen

Striking a balance between being super busy and doing nothing over the summer can be very difficult for families. When summer hits, we often struggle with finding a rhythm. I wish to find that sweet spot of doing some fun things and having time to do nothing. By the end of the school year, my kids and I are completely exhausted!

Below are some suggestions for finding a rhythm: I will be trying some of these too:

 

Create “Blank Space”

As you look at your summer calendar, make sure there are days on the calendar where there is nothing planned. There should be “blank space” on those days. In our busy world, it’s important to have days where kids and parents don’t have something to do.  These days allow us to be spontaneous and creative.

 

Searching for Sabbath

Are there ways that we can intentionally choose to pause, to savor beauty, appreciate goodness, and celebrate and enjoy what God has created?

Pastor Ken Shigemastu writes in God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God, “The golden rule for the Sabbath is cease from what is necessary to embrace what gives life.” This summer, I will try to capture minutes and occasionally hours to embrace what brings my family life. Will you join me?

“Then God surveyed everything He had made, savoring its beauty and appreciating its goodness. Evening gave way to morning. …God blessed day seven and made it special—an open time for pause and restoration, a sacred zone of Sabbath-keeping, because God rested from all the work He had done in creation that day.” -Genesis 1:31-2:3, The Voice

 

Observe a Sabbath

Whether the day falls on Sunday or another day of the week, we need to have one day when nothing gets accomplished. Sabbath reminds us that our relationship with God is not about what we can do for God, but that we are God’s children and can rest in our relationship with him.

If you do something on your Sabbath, stick to activities that are life-giving and that remind or point you towards your relationship with God. I like how Eugene Peterson talks about the Sabbath pattern he and his wife created for most of their life in pastoral ministry. Every Monday they would take off and hike for most of the entire morning in silence, then gather to eat lunch together and reflect upon what they had seen. Your family can create your own Sabbath rituals—including time to play and time to pray.

Getting Started

To get your family started with a rhythm for sabbath, here are some guidelines:

  • Don’t stress out.
  • There is no rule about how often to practice Sabbath. Do it when you can. No beating yourself up about not doing it more often!
  • Everyone in the household should find a way to participate if possible.
  • Sabbath practices really do work best when all devices are turned off (adults too.)
  • Begin by asking each other, “what brings you life and joy?”
  • No murmurings of discontent.
  • End your Sabbath practice with a prayer of thanksgiving.

 

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The world’s greatest superpower is under the contrail of a fragile and insecure narcissist known for objectifying women, bragging about his wealth, and turning every personal slight into a full-blown national crisis. His ineptitude would be comical were if not for the xenophobic advisors who hood court in his administration, threatening the lives of religious and ethnic minorities with unjust laws.

Gotcha.

The reference here is actually to King Xerxes of Persia, identified in the book of Esther as “Ahasuerus.” Eventually the king gets outsmarted by a Jewish orphan named Esther and a group of shrewd resisters. (1)

Sometimes the parallels in the Bible to present day events is startling. Such is the case this coming Sunday with the lesson from the Hebrew Scriptures about David and Bathsheba.

David was “a man after God’s own heart” but was by no means perfect. The story of the rape (and it was a rape) of Bathsheba is perhaps his most egregious failing:

David did what was right in the sight of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. (I Kings 15:5)

Uriah was Bathsheba’s husband.

Is David just another failed political leader who disappointed those who followed him? Why doesn’t God deal more harshly with David? Does the repression of women in “Biblical times” taint its message for women today? And – have to do it—what are the parallels to the present and its implications of what we must demand of our leaders? And, more importantly, of ourselves?

Lust, a rape, a murder, a cover-up, and one man who speaks the truth and changes everything.

See you in church.

Barbara

(1) Rachel Held Evans,” The Bible is literature for the resistance,” Washington Post. July 12, 2018

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