I find myself in an Oasis.
It's the calm that comes after one storm and right before the next storm.
It's a typical Sunday.
I started with breakfast in the Fellowship Hall. Pancakes and bacon! Maybe not the healthiest meal, but I love every bite.
Then there is the first service and the weekly Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Sunday School follows -- and I am in the middle of teaching one of the classes, so I had to rush to the room. As soon as that was over, it's a rush back to the Sanctuary for the 11:00 worship. We had a baptism! I love baptisms.
After the worship, the Associate Pastor and I posed for pictures with the family around the baptismal font.
I had lunch with elders -- Presbytery meeting is coming up on the 27th, and like all Presbyterian Churches, we send the pastors and a certain number of elders based on the size of the congregation. Presbytery covers a geographic area of several counties and meets a handful of times each year. With the elders, I review the agenda for the coming meeting and highlight the parts of the packet that need their closest attention. I also explain for them some of the backgound for different things that will be happening at the meeting. This is probably something I should do via email, but I've been doing it this way for years, and it follows the time-tested motto in our church, "This is the way we've always done it."
After lunch, I ran into the Associate Pastor who was coming in from serving the Sacrament of Communion in the hospitals and nursing homes. He mentioned one fellow who is in serious condition, so I ran to Jackson Hospital to see him.
Now I'm in the office, enjoying the calm.
Not enough time for a nap.
Too much time to start the next thing on the calendar.
So I sit and piddle with this blog.
And while I do, I consider how pastors mistreat the Fourth Commandment. "Remember the Sabbath day." Day of rest?
It's 3:42 now. At 4:00 there is a committee meeting. Perhaps I'll get a nap then.
At 5:00 Confirmation Class begins. I don't attend every session, but I'm scheduled to teach this particular one.
At 6:00 there's Pizza in the Youth Lounge. I'll hang out with them until 7:00, when there is another committee meeting. That's an interesting meeting, and one that will be sure to keep me awake. I often get frustrated with that committee, so when I leave that meeting I'll probably go home and click on www.pcusa.org
. Then I'll click "Ministry and Vocations." From there I'll scroll down to Church Leadership Connection and click "Opportunities."
(This is how pastors get therapy).
I'll enter "$100,000" as a minimum salary and see what comes up among vacant churches looking for pastors.
I'll go to sleep and go to the office on Monday. Unlike what I do on Sunday, that will be work :)
So what about the Sabbath?
The Ten Commandments were written in stone -- or was in the beginning -- so it must be important.
So what is the fourth Commandment?
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work..."
Years ago there was a short-lived television series about priests and nuns working in a Roman Catholic parish -- "Nothing Sacred." I loved that series and apparently was the only one in the nation that watched it.
In one scene two priests are in the vestry room. It is between services, and they are busy getting ready for the next one. It's not yet Noon and it has been a full day. The elderly priest puts on his robe and says, "Ah Sunday. The Sabbath. Day of rest. What a crock."
That's the moment I fell in love with that series.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism is one of several Presbyterian statements of faith. In a question and answer format it deals with the Fourth Commandment and asks, "Which day of the seven has God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?"
The answer: "From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath
and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath. (Footnotes point to Acts
Then the Catechism asks my question -- HOW? "How is the Sabbath to be kept holy?"
The answer: "By resting all that day."
It throws in public and private worship in the answer -- but that's no problem.
It's the "resting all that day" that gives me trouble.
I like to work, so it is hard to stop.
I think my work has value, so it is hard to stop.
In my perverted thinking, I feel that work gives my life value, so it is hard to stop.
I take Friday and Saturdays as "days off" but they are not Sabbaths.
A Sabbath is a stillness. "Be still, and know that I am God."
A Sabbath is a quietness. "Let all the earth keep silent before him."
A Sabbath is a rest from work. "You have six days to do all your work, but the seventh is a Sabbath to the Lord."
There are some sins that do not tempt me. I don't struggle with them at all.
I've never killed. Not literally. A little hate in my heart, which Jesus counted as being as good as murder, but give me credit for never appearing on Court TV.
I've never stolen -- well, not since that fountain pen I stole from the drug store in high school. You know teenagers and their dares and double dare ya's.
But Sabbath rest? I've never actually obeyed that one.
Well, it's 3:56. Gotta get back to work. It's Sunday you know.