2017-07-02 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato

2017-07-02 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato

2017-07-02 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato – First Baptist Church Edmonton

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“Summer Sabbath-ing”

#4 of the “big ten”…

Exodus 20:8-11

“Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.
Six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath day to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work…..For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day…”

Again, it’s given in Duet. 5:12-15. This time it’s not so much as a “God did it, so you do it” kind of way, this time it’s a matter of justice and love…remember when you were slaves in Egypt? It was work, work, work…oppression upon oppression. I command you not to be the oppressor. You are not to be a taskmaster…to yourselves or to others!

“Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.”

GOD IS GOD…and We are NOT!

Isn’t that the good news of the day?

Jesus invites us to come… “I will give you rest”…

Let us learn some of the movements of Sabbath rest today…

Each of the 4 movements are the 4 themes of the Christian life…

CEASING – the journey of repentance, “We are not God!”
RESTING – the journey of grace, “Our faith strengthens in God’s grace”
EMBRACING – the journey of growth, “We embrace the Christ-life”
FEASTING – the journey of joy, “Our hope is heightened, joy now is a foretaste of joy to come”

Teaching on Sabbath:
— from the book “keeping the sabbath wholly” by Marva Dawn

1) Ceasing

CEASING – the journey of repentance, “We are not God!”

Abraham Heschel the Jewish Theologian of the 20th C said that humankind has sought to control everything…but we cannot control time. Time is unstoppable. We seek to resist it but time marches on…

…Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else. Six days a week we seek to dominate the world, on the seventh day we try to dominate the self.

Sabbath comes from “Shabbat”….it doesn’t mean a certain day….Shabbat means ceasing…we QUIT / STOP / TAKE A BREAK…from work!

work is if i must, ought, should or have to do it….if you’re compelled to do it, then it’s work! (use the acronym M.O.S.H. = must ought should have)

MARVA exhorts us to CEASE…

CEASING our anxieties… Philippians 4:4-8

CEASING our possessiveness
We have too much stuff! And a big reason why we won’t cease because we’re driven by possessions! So on sabbath, let’s stop buying and selling

CEASING our enculturation
– we choose a path that’s simply the “way of the world” or “it is what it is”

Sabbath gives us a day to set aside the way the world does things and to choose the way we do things. . .

–We repent of the mindset/heartset that we are God…that we can manufacture our own future…and we let God be God…”Be Still and know that I am God…I AM…exalted above the nations….I AM exalted in the earth.”

If Ceasing is the journey of repentance, then…

RESTING – the journey of grace, “Our faith strengthens in God’s grace”

Resting in Grace (we’re all pretty bad at this) We’re wired/trained for the “performance principle”

eg: pursuing perfection, success, health, wealth, good kids, competition, efficiency

The beauty of sabbath is that grace comes first… our world has it all backwards….God sets us free to seek rest first and then we live, move, serve out of the joy of that rest….

But we truly have to learn to rest in grace…

see Ps. 23 is a great resting psalm!

•It also denotes: 5 REST(s): physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3     he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.

v. 1 “I shall not want”…..never do we want when the Lord is my shepherd…this should allow us to rest in grace…

v.2 physical rest – he leads me by “harmonious” waters….it’s more than just quiet

v. 3 he restores my “nefesh” (the true you)…. this is intellectual rest

v.4 –emotional rest…..the psalm moves from 3rd person (the Lord is) to 2nd person (Lord you are)

v. 5 social rest — invite your enemies to dinner!

v. 6 our spiritual rest lies in resting in the now & not yet kingdom

The great gift of sabbath is taking care of ourselves…it begins with physical rest and then leads to these other “rests.”

–WE cease…we rest…the 3rd movement is:
3) Embracing

EMBRACING – the journey of growth, “We embrace the Christ-life”

We embrace with intentionality those spiritually forming ways/truths that form the Christ life in us!

Galatians 4:19
Christ revealed, Christ living in us…Christ being formed in you!

We’ve already talked today (Children’s Blessing) re:


That’s the image for embracing.

Leaning in. Leaning on Christ.

It’s that image of intimacy at the Table of the Lord.

John, the beloved, leaning in, leaning on the bosom of Christ.

We listen to the heart of God, we listen to the heart of Christ…and we make a space and a way for Christ to be formed in us.

We cease…we rest…we embrace…

4) Feasting

FEASTING – the journey of joy, “Our hope is heightened, joy now is a foretaste of joy to come”

We feast on the eternal…we feast on the now and not yet!

And…Church is one of the best places for that feast! That is why we do what we do!

We feast on:

WORSHIP – all aspects…you never know what part of the liturgical morning will feed you the most!

WORD – the word of God feeds us, it fills us, it comforts us.

TABLE – the bread and the cup…The body of Christ, the blood of Christ, fill us, and energize us.


Feasting with Music: Feast with your favourite music… let’s make different sounds together… or on Sabbath go listen to the birds or a waterfall…

Feasting with Beauty: What would be Sabbath beauty that you would feast on? Looking at art, looking at people…gardens…
On Sabbath put out the best candles, the best dishes, put out flowers…

Feasting with Affections: On Sabbath times, spend time friends with whom you are affectionate with…this is not limited to sexual affection…be with those you love and run from those who make you crazy!

Feasting with Food: Make special foods on the Sabbath! Eat, drink and be merry!

SABBATH PRAYER (from Ordinary Radicals, Claiborne/Hartgrove)
Lord of Creation,
create in us a new rhythm of life
composed of hours that sustain rather than stress,
of days that deliver rather than destroy,
of time that tickles rather than tackles.

Lord of Liberation,
by the rhythm of your truth, set us free
from the bondage and baggage that break us,
from the Pharaohs and fellows who fail us,
from the plans and pursuits that prey upon us.

Lord of Resurrection,
may we be raised into the rhythm of your new life,
dead to deceitful calendars,
dead to fleeting friend requests,
dead to the empty peace of our accomplishments.

To our packed-full planners, we bid, “Peace!”
To our over-caffeinated consciences, we say, “Cease!”
To our suffering selves, Lord, grant release.

Drowning in a sea of deadlines and death chimes,
we rest in you, our lifeline.

By your ever-restful grace,
allow us to enter your Sabbath rest
as your Sabbath rest enters into us.

In the name of our Creator,
our Liberator,
our Resurrection and Life,
we pray.