Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Unexpected Sabbath

Saturday morning I awoke to the ground covered in white, with lots more falling from the sky. The long promised snow storm had actually arrived in Virginia Beach, and we were looking at a day like I hadn't seen in years. Throughout the day we watched the snow fall covering the ground in a blanket of pure white, making everything look clean and pretty. Our Sr. Pastor called me a couple of times to discuss Sunday morning worship- would we be able to meet for all 3 services? Might we cancel the early one and have the other 2? Perhaps only meet for the 11:00? When all was said and done the decision was made to not hold worship services at all, and I was suddenly without anyplace I had to be on Sunday morning. What resulted in an unexpected Sabbath.

Now you might be thinking, wait a minute... he already was going to be celebrating a "Sabbath" at worship services. What does he mean he got an "unexpected" one? Simple, when I'm at church on Sunday morning I'm working. My time for a Sabbath isn't happening at church as it may for many other people. A time for rest and reflection. A time to concentrate on all that God has done for me, and to thank Him for His many blessings. My Sunday morning isn't always (isn't usually) like that. I'm running around, trying to insure that everything is ready for other people to experience a Sabbath, but not so much for me.

So today has been a blessing I wasn't looking for. A time to rest. I feel so much better having had this day to relax, not have to worry about anything, not run around putting out "fires." An unexpected Sabbath. And I'm ever so thankful that God allowed us to see His beauty in the snowfall, and to let us enjoy it without other stuff getting in the way.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Here we are one week later. The "big one" that hit our brothers and sisters in Haiti, that 7.0 earthquake, has just given them another aftershock- this one at a magnitude of 6.1. And I just read a report that says there could be more of equal or even greater magnitude. The relief forces that are trying to reach those trapped are struggling because of the damage that had happened in the initial temblor, and the logistical issues of getting food, water, and other supplies to those in need is beyond comprehension.

The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) are but three of agencies making the effort to get help to these folks. Add to that the various worldwide governmental responses and that means there's a bunch of people with "boots on the ground" now in Haiti helping as they can. This is a very good thing. But it does beg the question... why does it take a disaster like this for the best in humanity to come out?

As Christ followers we are called to reach out to people every day. The hurt, the lost, the confused, the lonely, the seeker, and the ones who have strayed from the path. Yet we sit comfortably in our pews (or chairs) on Sunday mornings listening to a message which, and let's be honest here, often falls short of calling us to mission and service. A message that doesn't challenge us to get off our assets and go into the world and engage it with the love of Jesus Christ. We'll gladly put a few dollars into an envelope for UMCOR to help our fellow humans in Haiti, and that's good as they do need the funds to do what they do. But how many of us with skills that might make a difference in the lives of the Haitians are willing to donate that which is most important- our presence sharing our gifts.

Over the next few months (and years) the nation of Haiti will still be recovering from this event and we need to be there for them. So my challenge for you reading this is as follows- are you willing to put yourself on the line and go show the love of Jesus?

I hope and pray you do.