If you heard Eric’s sermon on March 19, then you know that he preached on the Ten Commandments. And as he spoke about the commandments and their place in our lives, the one that caught my attention that day was the fourth commandment, “Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.” We often think of the commandments as rules meant to be followed “or else,” but they are really more like rules given to us as a gift to help us live our lives in such a way that we are brought closer to God and to each other. The commandments are meant to help us find joy and peace in our lives, and this is most definitely true of the fourth commandment. The command to honor the Sabbath is given to us because God knows how often we choose to overstretch and overwork ourselves. Sunday has become just another day of the week for us to run our kids to their activities, catch up on work stuff, and squeeze as much into our day as we can. But God knows that ultimately with no Sabbath day, with no break for our hearts, minds, and bodies, we will eventually burn out from the weariness of life. We all need a chance to just stop and rest, and so God gives us Sabbath in our lives and asks us to keep it holy, meaning set it apart and honor it. 
   This summer I have the opportunity to take an extended Sabbath and go on sabbatical from June through August. After 20 years in ministry and never having had a sabbatical, I am excited about this opportunity and I am grateful to the people of St. John’s, the vestry, and Eric for supporting me and giving me this Sabbath time. I hope to return with a renewed heart and mind for ministry and a fresh understanding of what God is wanting for me and from me. I know that not all people can take an extended sabbatical, but each of us can honor the Sabbath each and every week. We can make time in our weeks to experience the rest and renewal that we all so desperately need in our lives. The Sabbath is a gift from God, and I hope and pray that you will find  your own ways to enjoy this wonderful gift. 
   Grace and Peace,

Posted by Evan Hines at 08:00