Monday, September 2, 2019

What is a Sabbath - Luke 13:10-17, Hebrews 12:18-29



What is a Sabbath
Tony E Dillon Hansen
25 August 2019

A Sermon based upon Luke 13:10-17, Hebrews 12:28, Jeremiah 1-8

Let us begin with prayer. May the words of my mouth and meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, Our Rock and Our Redeemer!

Our lessons today have multiple layers and perspectives happening.

I thought today I might walk through Hebrews and how that invites us into the covenant with God, and that could be extremely interesting to some of you.

Then again, I thought that I might talk about 3 perspectives from Luke’s Gospel today, and that might be enough for several sermons.

I thought for One of those perspectives, I might talk about the Sabbath and what it means as a commandment and a gift from God in Deuteronomy. Then I would have to ask where do you find time in your schedules for that gift - that sacred time - alone time: for you, for your spouse or for your family.

But then I would want to invoke lessons from the movie Christopher Robin – a story about some characters from the Hundred Acre Woods (e.g. Pooh, Tigger and pals).

Yet that might spoil a good movie for some of you. I could tell you about the basic premise that invites people to think about what is in our lives that is so important that we dedicate time, attention and convenience. Perhaps, we could also wonder what in those things causes us to find some people inconvenient “or in the way.”

I would then have to ask about how we spend our time. Does it give space for what is truly important like our family, love, justice and our Creator? You know love of God and love of neighbor ...the true important stuff.

Yet that might cause a long discussion about what the Sabbath means to you and me – and that could be great time had by all.

I also considered talking about laws and whether laws are always perfectly executed, and we know how that could invite a lively debate of politics. So then I could try to focus even upon the laws handed to us in Deuteronomy that includes the Sabbath.

As I said, I could talk about those things, but that might invite a wider conversation about what laws we find convenient and some that we might say inconvenient… Or even company policies that challenge us to live at the convenience of a job …
instead of what Pooh says “doing nothing can lead to some of the best kind of something.”

Yes, I could talk about these and get you to ponder what is convenient and inconvenient in your own lives, and that could be a long conversation.

As I said, I would like to discuss these things about the Sabbath and inconvenient laws, but then I would have to ask what do these say about the woman in our story.

I could ask what is wrong with her for 18 years.
I could ask why it took 18 years for someone see her.
That is 18 years of Sabbaths for someone to find time to even notice her – and maybe I could ask who in our midst do we conveniently ignore and why?

Before you know it, 18 years goes by with all of those missed opportunities.

I could have you ponder who else in society and their sufferings we conveniently ignore: like immigrants, black Americans, homeless, Native Americans, or equality for queer people. Then we could spend time asking what we could do. That could be a great conversation.

Then I would have to ask what were you and I doing for 18 years that was so important?
How many Sabbaths were in those 18 years that she endured without so much as “how can I help?”

I could ask if that tells us about our own Sabbaths and how many people simply cannot take time off in this society ?
How many people don’t have the privilege of working only weekdays from 9 to 5?
I could ask if we conveniently see those people as necessary for our Sabbath but do we get irritated when we are inconvenienced when they deserve this divine gift.

As I said, I could talk about these things but that could invoke emotions, strains, and long uncomfortable discussions.

Suffice to say, I could ask you what does your Sabbath look like and who is important enough to notice in your lives?  I could ask How do we justify laws and policies that are convenient for us while shunning justice for others like the woman in the story – or our neighbors around us?

I wonder if a few of us could learn from  Winnie-The-Pooh saying, “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing everyday.”

Maybe we can find time for that!

Thanks Be to God.