We started journeying through Scripture to engage Sabbath way back in April! The list below is not exhaustive, but a quick glimpse at several key points:
The presence of the resurrected Christ answers our deepest existential problems of sorrow, fear, and doubt • Jesus has overcome, he is near, and we can be at peace
Sabbath disconnects our identity from what we do and reconnects us to the One who loves us for who we are
If we want to be with God, we must enter into spaces where God is at work — this will often be broken places where God is bringing healing & justice
We engage Sabbath practices as individuals and as a community — in joy, delight, and fun
Sabbath restores trust in God — that, even if you stop working, the world will keep spinning and God will continue to remain in control, God will provide your daily bread, exactly what you need
How does God give you comfort during hard times? How can that overflow to others around you? Do you remember expressing the comforting love of God together as a church now: the love of Christ is like a joyful canopy, held up by the people of God, shining brightly for all to see?
We want to help you find ways to set yourself up for success! How can the practice of your faith lead to greater love, joy, hope? How can your commitment to Sabbath (preparation) help you meet with God on a deeper level than you have before (opportunity)? A joyful, strong, hope-giving life in Christ will not just fall into your lap, especially with all the struggles we face in this world
There is a Sabbath rest — past, present, and future — that anchors us in every moment
Our first “Reset Sunday” is coming up this week! As we explained at worship, our hope is that we’ll all be able to take this opportunity to reset our selves and our community, start the promise of restoration from a wearying year, and redirect our intentions to live fully for Jesus, the One who loves us, in all the different aspects of our life. We pray that your upcoming Sabbath days will be a time that you’ll set apart, to honor it and keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
On Sunday, we spent some time coming up with a plan that would schedule our reset Sundays. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, or if you’d like to further plan the one you worked, here are a few reflection questions:
When, where, and how do you feel connected to God?
When do you feel free?
What obstacles stand in the way of you unplugging from your work?
What helps you strengthen your body? Your mind? Your spirit?
How do you feel connected to the Anchor City community? How can you connect to the larger community?
Plan a day that will be restful and meaningful. Will you sleep in? Eat something good? Go somewhere new?
4 things that will be helpful for you to incorporate on this day:
A way for you to feel connected to God
A way for you to feel connected to others
Unplugging from work
A traditional spiritual element: Prayer, Bible, Music
7 When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8 They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.
10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
13 So the Philistines were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines.
The Israelites come to the prophet Samuel in fear because the Philistines have risen up to attack them. Samuel prays on Israel’s behalf and the Israelites are victorious.
In verse 12, Samuel then sets up a stone and calls it “Eben-Ezer” which means, “stone of help” saying “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
Throughout the Old Testament we see at different moments where the people use a stone to mark a time to remember something (see Joshua 4). If you’re outside, or you have one in the house, find a rock to mark as your stone of remembrance for this year (if not a rock, perhaps another object to mark as an “object of remembrance”).
This past year has been a year of struggle but, hopefully, also a year of growth. As you look back on the year, consider the following questions:
Where were the times you grew in your awareness of God’s presence?
When were the times that you struggled the most? When were your greatest moments of growth?
When are the times that you look back and can say, “Thus far the Lord has helped us”?
As we look ahead to the New Year, consider setting up the stone (or object) of remembrance somewhere where you can be reminded of how God was with you in 2020. Spend some time in prayer and meditation, asking God to give you a Word of Hope and Remembrance for 2021. If you are with others, share in your household and pray together.
Close with this prayer, written by Jill Duffield:
God of our past, present and future, as the calendar turns and we greet another year, we ask not so much for answers to those questions that perplex us, but for confidence in your never-failing care for us.
As we reflect on the year we leave behind, we begin with gratitude for the moments and the milestones in which we experienced your presence. As we look to the year ahead, we start with hope for a kinder, more just, lavishly loving world. Through all the years, we depend on the abundance of your grace, the generosity of your mercy and the unwavering promise of your compassion.
Aid us, Almighty God, when we fail to be the people you create and call us to be. Comfort us, Abba, when we face times of sadness, loss and grief. Admonition us, Lord of all, when we neglect the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Guide us, Triune God, all the days of this new year, and indeed, every day of our lives until that time when we see you face to face. Amen.
Here is the beautiful prayer our brother Sejun lifted up during our worship gathering on 13 December 2020. We invite you to read and to make it your ongoing prayer during this Advent season as well.
Heavenly Father, The year 2020 has been a very challenging year and many of us will never forget. Help us remember that the good news of Jesus’ birth has the power to bring us great joy this Christmas season.
We thank you for sending us Your Son, So that He can become our Saviour, So that He can bring peace in the hearts of those that believe, and joy to those that find their hope in Him.
We rejoice knowing that You love us, And that You will always be with us. Help us share the joy that we receive from You to those around us. We pray for the people of this nation and this world, That You will open up their hearts, and that many will find joy through You in these hard times.
As we look forward to a brighter 2021, we pray for the completion of many safe COVID-19 vaccines, And Your continued protection upon our healthcare workers and frontline workers until the vaccine is widely available. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Here is the beautiful prayer our sister Yang lifted up during our worship gathering on 6 December 2020. We invite you to read and to make it your ongoing prayer during this Advent season as well.
Heavenly Father, hallowed be Your name! As we await Your Son’s return, we pray to receive Your Holy Spirit. May the Spirit guide our thoughts, guide our hearts, guide our words, and guide our ways, Every moment of the day.
We also seek Your Shalom during the troubled times, like the sheep seeking for the green pastures, like the fish seeking for the crystal streams. We want to be the peacemakers you desire, and be proudly called Children of God.
As Your peacemakers We pray for the people who are sick, hungry, or cold, who are sad, angry, or lonely. We pray they will accept Your Son, the Prince of Peace. Your Spirit will be upon them, so they will seek Shalom, not the worldly comforts. May You lead us all onto the righteous pass.
As this troubled year seems never ends, and we don’t know what the days ahead hold. We have faith in the One who does! We will proclaim Your name, we will hold steadfast, Until the day Your Kingdom comes and Your Will is done on earth. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen