February 2, 2024

Sabbath is waiting for you!

by David Alexander

Dear First Family, 
Last weekend, Pastor Julian shared the final message in our four-week teaching on the practice of Sabbath. He ended with these words,  
       Make room for Sabbath. 
       Sabbath is waiting for you. 
This is the invitation and the conviction as we claim Sabbath as our one-word focus for the entire year. While we have finished our teaching on the practice, we will be continually inviting one another to make room for Sabbath and carrying forward this conviction, Sabbath is waiting for you
By now, I hope you have figured out how to turn off your phone! I hope you have had the chance to share a Sabbath meal. Perhaps you have even enjoyed sharing a Sabbath meal with another individual or family.
If you have not, that’s ok. Our goal is never to make you feel guilty or discouraged. Embracing a new rhythm of life takes time. I have certainly experienced that in my own life. I know you have as well. 
At the same time, you may have found yourself thinking in recent weeks, 
       “I think I can get enough done next week to really give this Sabbath thing a try.” 
And, in grace, I simply want to say, “No you won’t.” 
Sabbath isn’t a prize reserved for those who’ve checked everything off our list.
It is meant to be an intentional interruption of our busy lives. 
Perhaps the most beautiful description I’ve read in recent weeks is this.  
       Sabbath is meant to be “a cathedral in time.” 
Consider that for just a moment. Instead of going to an awe-inspiring holy place, Sabbath is embracing and being embraced by a beautiful and holy time where we are fully present with God and with one another. 
That might be why I was so moved by how Pastor Julian brought everything to a close. Sabbath is a gift of God. It is a gift our creator longs for us to receive. 
Sabbath really is waiting for you. 
It’s the picture of Adam and Eve taking a walk with God in the garden during the cool of the day. It is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit saying, “Come away with me! Let me bless you with Sabbath rest!” How unfortunate it would be for us to miss out on so great a gift. 
To keep the Sabbath holy, we want to invite you to begin setting apart a full day each week to stop, rest, delight, and worship. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Some weeks will go better than others. Remember, a new rhythm of life takes time. 
Give yourself and others abundant grace as you grow in this practice. 
This is why we are claiming it as our one-word focus for the entire year! It might take several months for true Sabbath rest to bring healing to your hurried heart. More than anything else, faithfulness in this practice is simply about showing up again and again. It’s doing what only you can do with the confidence that God will do what only God can do. 

And do not forget, we will all be sharing this journey together, and the prayer we are praying over each other will continue to be, 
May the God of rest fill you with his peace and presence as you rest in Him. 
I love you and I am proud of you, 
Pastor David
One last thing… 
As we share this journey, I’d love to hear how you are experiencing the practice of Sabbath. 
Where have you found joy? What has been a struggle? How have you experienced God? Is there anything you are beginning to notice as different in your heart or your family as a result of practicing Sabbath? Is there any way we can help? Are there ways you think we can continue to mutually encourage one another? 
Feel free to send me an email at pastordavid@fmcm.org. Whatever you would like to share, I’d love to hear. 

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