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Taking A Sabbath Rest

At Cannon Beach

Yesterday during worship at Camas Friends Church, Brad Tricola preached on the Exodus 16 passage about Sabbath. His message was in part about just how difficult it is to live up to the ideal of sabbath, even the Hebrews continued to gather on the day they were to take off. Taking a break is difficult to do, especially when we are so convinced that if we stop we may fall behind, or worse, get left behind. Brad’s message reminded us that Sabbath is not simply for us, but for God. It is an act of worship. A time when we are like our creator who also stopped and rested.

This summer has flown by for me. August and most of September were a blur. I found myself a couple of weeks back feeling “desperate” for a break. It was all too easy to begin skipping days off, filling them with “good and meaningful things.”  Some things were events I could have done better to hand off or not participate in, some were unavoidable or things I desired to be a part of. Even still, I began to feel so crowded out that stopping for a sabbath rest felt almost out of reach.

I was grateful for this last week when my dad and stepmom visit us. I took the week off and not only enjoyed catching up with them, but enjoyed just taking a break. It’s amazing what a little rest will do for the soul. I also found a good amount of time to enjoy our daughters. When life gets going so fast, it’s the little ones who seem to get lost in the shuffle the easiest. I was glad to reconnect with them last week and find my footing again.

If you’re feeling out of balance or desperate for a break, what needs to happen for you to take a sabbath rest?

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Sermons The Biblical

Questions and Complaints: The Wilderness School (Ex 16)

This is the message I gave at Camas Friends Church on September 18, 2011.

Complaints.

We pick up our story shortly after were we left off last week. The Hebrews have past their entrance exam, which was proctors by prof. Moses and his assistant Aaron, and now they have been admitted into The Wilderness School. Now the Wilderness school is a little unusual in that it isn’t exactly what it appears to be. First, it appears to be a place of death, empty, and terrifying and yet it is the place where these students learn and witness it is also the very center of God’s glory and power, as one author puts it, “by God’s rule, the wilderness is completely redefined” (Brueggeman). Another way this school is a little different is that our Wilderness students discover there is as much to unlearn as there is to learn in this school. For one, in order to survive in the wilderness they must unlearn all of the things they have picked up from Pharaoh, the self-sufficiency and the surplus of “fleshpots” as they call them which is something akin to an army-pot size of meat. But just as importantly, they must also unlearn the stories they’ve been told about being slaves, about not being good enough, about being property of someone else’s, about what it means to relate to someone of godlike stature as the pharaoh. Here in the Wilderness School they have the advantage of no distraction, not even any distraction of food, or water, YHWH the school master will provide everything and it will all be lessons for learning.

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Featured Sermons The Biblical

The Red Sea: From Obstacle to Opening (Exodus 14)

This is the text from the message I gave at Camas Friends Church September 11, 2011. 

The Experience of the Experience

This past week we were at the beach. Searching for rocks. Lily and Mae scooped while Emily and I carefully picked. At first this was frustrating. It felt like an obstacle to us having fun. I found myself continually saying come on, just pick up one special one, not all of them. I want to keep moving! I realized the goal for me was to find really unique rocks, that’s why I was out there, or that was at least why I was feeling frustrated. The girls didn’t understand the point of what we were doing! The girls had an entirely different approach to what was happening there. Their joy was not in thinking about which were the most beautiful and unique rocks, but in the experience of simply being together on the beach, and running their hands through the sand. For me, the realization that what was important was the experience rather than the end product, or my understanding of what we were doing, helped to create an “opening” or a different kind of experience for on the beach. I was able to relax and enjoy what was going on.

Al shared with me yesterday a quote from Thomas Merton: “What is important is to experience the experience, not to understand the experience.” This is the difference between talking about doing something and actually doing it.

It’s like the impulse to have a meeting to plan for our upcoming coming meeting.

This past Wednesday during our Discernment class we talked about how it’s easy to feel frustrated with the how we do business together. We often just want to get it done and over with, we all know the feeling. We’re tired, we’ve had a long day at work, we have a lot other things to do. And if the end goal, that final decision, is really what is most important, then just making the decision and moving on is what we should do. Anything else is just an obstacle that creates frustration. But what if the decision we make is not really the point at all? What if in fact God is not interested in the decision we make as much as in the experience of making that decision? What if discernment isn’t about efficient decision-making, but rather about helping the church become a community? What if the whole point is the experience of becoming the people of God, regardless of what the outcome of the final decision is?