Daily Riches: Feeling Joy In a World of Pain (Lynne Baab)

“I find it quite challenging to accept the notion that we have some sort of responsibility before God to enjoy the good things of life. For most of my adult life, I’ve had an inner dialogue running through my brain along these lines: ‘How can I truly enjoy this wonderful event when 22,000 children will die today of the effects of hunger?’ – ‘How can I relish this beautiful weather when 11.4 million Syrians are displaced from their homes?’ Ever since my mid-twenties, I’ve been much, much better at mourning with those who mourn rather than rejoicing with those who rejoice. However, I’m doing better these days enjoying God’s good gifts. I want to reflect on how that happened. …

The Sabbath.  …In Jewish tradition, prayers of intercession are not appropriate on the Sabbath because it’s a day of rest. In contrast, prayers of thankfulness are encouraged. On my Sabbath day, when I start thinking about any kind of pain in the world, the kind of situations that might motivate prayers of intercession, I tell myself, You can think about that and pray about it tomorrow. Today’s focus is rest and being present to all of God’s good gifts.’ Over many years, that Sabbath habit has helped me turn off anxiety and sorrow, albeit briefly, and focus on the gifts of the moment. …

The Psalms. In the Psalms, confession, lament, praise and thanks recur over and over, reinforcing in my mind that there is a time for everything and that life should be lived in a rhythm. Yes, it is completely appropriate to grieve over Syria and to pray for refugees. But it is equally appropriate to stop and look and enjoy the beautiful clear eyes of a small child or a flower newly unfurled.

This reality has become more real to me over time as I have practiced lack of worry and sorrow on the Sabbath and as I have practiced thankfulness. My habits have changed my thoughts. None of the shifts described here happened very quickly for me. But I can see movement over time, and I have to say that after decades of feeling so much sorrow and sadness, having a good number of moments of joy is pretty wonderful.” Lynne Baab

““For everything there is a season…
A time to grieve and a time to dance.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Would you like a break from “feeling so much sorrow and sadness” over our pain-filled world?
  • Do you have a day in your weekly calendar where you can allow yourself to be “sorrow free?”
  • Can you see the value in such a day?

Abba, let me both weep and rejoice as I should.

For more: Sabbath Keeping by Lynne Baab

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Thanks for reading/sharing my blog. – Bill

Daily Riches: Sabbath and the Rhythm of Rest (Nancy Schongalla-Bowman and Mark Buchanan) *

“Despite the commandment, despite the day of rest and savoring that closed the creation story, many of us struggle to maintain a rhythm that includes intentional times of play and “non-doing.” Having just finished nature’s season of Sabbath we are reminded that spring, creativity, newness of life, are preceded by fallow time when it appears that nothing is happening. Prayer too is a time when it appears that nothing is happening. But Sabbath and prayer provide necessary opportunities for us to re-align with God and to remember that our purpose is union, faithfulness, and delight, not perfection or productivity.” Nancy Schongalla-Bowman

“”The Exodus command, with its call to imitation, plays on a hidden irony: we mimic God in order to remember we’re not God. In fact, that is a good definition of Sabbath: imitating God so that we stop trying to be God.” Mark Buchanan

“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work,
so that your ox and your donkey may rest,
and so that the slave born in your household
and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.”
Exodus 23:12

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Many of us sense the need for “realigning with God” during each day (e.g., Daily Office) and in the course of each week (Sabbath) – and yet we “struggle” with these practices. What do you suppose accounts for that?
  • Even if the Sabbath command is no longer binding today, can you hear God’s heart in Exodus 23 – to give the gift of rest to his people and those who work for them – even to animals? Do you see value in rest and “fallow time” in the world?  in your life?
  • Do you agree with the statement that our purpose “is union, faithfulness, and delight, not perfection or productivity?” Even productivity? Have you built elements into your regular schedule that reflect this claim?

Abba, sometimes it seems like everyone else is running, striving, and grasping – chasing the brass ring, measuring by accomplishment, affirmation and efficiency. I want union with you more than I want those things. Help me to develop a rhythm of regularly recalibrating my relationship with you and your purposes.

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For More”Sabbath: Keeping a Rhythm of Rest” by Nancy Schongalla-Bowman

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“There grows in me an immense dissatisfaction with all that is merely passively accepted as truth, without struggle and without examination. Faith, surely, is not passive, and not an evasion. And today, more than ever, the things we believe, I mean especially the things we accept on human faith—reported matters of ‘fact,’ questions of history, of policy, of interpretation, of wants—they should be very few.” Thomas Merton   These Daily Riches are designed to encourage examination of convictions, of faith, so that we increasingly trust in the God who is really there, and less in our ideas of Him. Thanks for reading and sharing my daily blog. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Sabbath and the Rhythm of Rest (Nancy Schongalla-Bowman)

“Despite the commandment, despite the day of rest and savoring that closed the creation story, many of us struggle to maintain a rhythm that includes intentional times of play and “non-doing.” Having just finished nature’s season of Sabbath we are reminded that spring, creativity, newness of life, are preceded by fallow time when it appears that nothing is happening. Prayer too is a time when it appears that nothing is happening. But Sabbath and prayer provide necessary opportunities for us to re-align with God and to remember that our purpose is union, faithfulness, and delight, not perfection or productivity.”

“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work,
so that your ox and your donkey may rest,
and so that the slave born in your household
and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.”
Exodus 23:12

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Many of us sense the need for “realigning with God” during each day (e.g., Daily Office) and in the course of each week (Sabbath) – and yet we “struggle” with these practices. What do you suppose accounts for that?
  • Even if the Sabbath command is no longer binding today, can you hear God’s heart in Exodus 23 – to give the gift of rest to his people and those who work for them – even to animals? Do you see value in rest and “fallow time” in the world?  in your life?
  • Do you agree with the statement that our purpose “is union, faithfulness, and delight, not perfection or productivity?” Even productivity? Have you built elements into your regular schedule that reflect this claim?

Abba, sometimes it seems like everyone else is running, striving, and grasping – chasing the brass ring, measuring by accomplishment, affirmation and efficiency. I want union with you more than I want those things. Help me to develop a rhythm of regularly recalibrating my relationship with you and your purposes.

__________

For More”Sabbath: Keeping a Rhythm of Rest” by Nancy Schongalla-Bowman

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)