As summer becomes a mere memory, some leaders already feel the pace of ministry increasing. We work as if we need to make up for lost time. Even if the level of activity is not where it was a few years ago, many leaders sense more urgency about the ministry we are called to do. This might happen in various ways: for instance, the school year has begun, but the youth ministry has not yet taken on a shape that we recognize. The anxiety in finance committee meetings is palpable. We consistently offer opportunities for in-person interactions, but we just cannot seem to attract more than half of the congregation at any given service.
Before we spin our wheels trying to figure out what else we can do to bring more people back to church or solve any one of the pressing problems that require our immediate attention, we should see this as an opportunity to remember one of the core practices of our faith: keeping Sabbath.
When the church mirrors the hard-driving culture around us, Sabbath sounds much like sloth, one of the seven deadly sins. Dorothy C. Bass, editor of ‘Practicing Our Faith,’ describes the unique gift of Sabbath in this way:
“Sabbath keeping is not about taking a day off but about being recalled to our knowledge of and gratitude for God’s activity in creating the world, giving liberty to captives, and overcoming the powers of death.”
If you find yourself saying, “I’m so busy — I don’t have time to complete all my work,” it may be time to reflect on how to integrate Sabbath keeping into your life. Keeping Sabbath is not one more task we add to our mammoth to-do list. Rather, keeping Sabbath is a biblical way of approaching all of life, including our work. Explore the Sabbath keeping resources at PracticingOurFaith.org to learn more about creating this sustainable rhythm in your life.
Sabbath isn’t easy
Q&A with Nathan T. Stucky
Slacking off and the call to Sabbath
By Andrea Palpant Dilley
Lilly Endowment Inc. launches new Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative
Through this national competitive initiative, Lilly Endowment is inviting charitable organizations to apply for grants of up to $1.25 million to create new and/or enhance existing programs that help parents and caregivers share their faith more confidently with their children. The Endowment anticipates awarding approximately 60 grants to charitable organizations that submit the most promising and compelling proposals.
The Endowment is offering virtual information sessions that will review the RFP and application process on Monday, October 24 and Tuesday, November 1. An online Interest Form with Letter of Interest must be submitted by December 5, 2022.
Before you go…
I know. Sabbath keeping can sound like a luxury for middle-class, “first-world” Christians. To be clear, Sabbath keeping is not the same as taking a vacation. What if we keep Sabbath by spending less on things we don’t need in order to share more with those who do need? What if part of our working involved sharing time, resources and space with others so that they can keep Sabbath as we do? As Dorothy C. Bass reminds us, keeping Sabbath is more than just a day off. We keep Sabbath to affirm our faith and trust in the providential care of God — for us and for the world.
Thank you for reading Alban Weekly. Feel free to contact me and the Alban Weekly team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember the Sabbath, and keep leading.
Editor, Alban at Duke Divinity