Mick’s CV Memo-Monday Musings

As the limits on travel and gatherings unfold, I will be sending along some daily ideas for leveraging the Covid-19 situation for good.  Yesterday a CCC member sent me a video with a message that resonated with me, particularly with the concept of seeing this time as a sabbath.

The concept of sabbath had deteriorated by the time of the New Testament as the Jewish authorities used it as a trap to denigrate Jesus’ character and ministry.  God designed the sabbath intentionally and with mankind’s benefit in mind.  One day in seven, one year in seven and one additional year in every 50 years were designed to give rest and time to focus on God’s word, worship of God and restoration to those who had experienced loss of their property, wealth or freedom. 

Land was to be restored to ancestral ownership and loans were to be forgiven every 50 years.  Any Israelites who had sold themselves into slavery were to be offered their freedom.  Every seven years the land was to lie fallow (a good agricultural practice) and people were to give the time that they normally spent in agricultural labors in study of God’s word, led by the Levites.  Israel failed to observe this, and it was held accountable by God when they were taken into captivity for the number of years (70) they had neglected it (490).  The seventh day sabbath rest became a great focus of attention after the captivity and sadly the authorities missed the point.  They turned it into a burden instead of a benefit.  God wanted people to be free from daily chores and focus on their relationship with Him.  Instead they were worrying about the minute details that had been prescribed for how to do it “right”.

We are no longer under the laws of the sabbath, but we are still people whom God designed to need rest and time to focus on God.  We struggle with this.  Our culture lives in overdrive, overstimulation and under-worship.  We measure our time for spiritual things in minutes or perhaps an hour, but not much more; and rarely in days, years or fifty years.  We can use slowing down.  I can’t say that this is God’s purpose in this—who knows the mind of the infinite One?  But I do think it’s something for us to consider.  To that end I offer Psalm 63, part of my daily readings for today…

Psalm 63 New International Version (NIV)

A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Notice the situation at the opening.  David is being pursued, hiding in the desert and in need of encouragement.  He turns to the ultimate source of sustenance and hope. I suggest that we pray through this poetic prayer together today.  What is pursuing us?  Where can we turn?  What is God like?  What do we expect to come out of this?   How can we serve God as it takes place?  Sabbath, or resting in God, involves things like reading, reflecting on and memorizing Scripture; praying as an expression of love for God and for His people; and seeking ways to worship God in serving and giving.

Yesterday during the National Day of Prayer, I used our church roster of regular attendees to pray for you all.  I am asking our staff to do the same regularly during this unusual time.  I want to invite all to send us specific things that the staff can pray about regarding you, your family or other people you know.  If you would like a copy of the roster so that you can pray for folks, let us know and we can email it to you.  If you know of any way we can help people, please let us know that as well.

For those who regularly worship God by giving of your financial resources, we want to encourage the use of our online giving method which can be accessed through our website at www.crossroadscny.org or by regular mail if you prefer a check.  We have been blessed by God’s faithfulness and your faithful giving.

For the coming weekend we will conclude our series “Interdependence or Bust” including the final installment of “Jesse Goes West”.  There will be worship music, the drama and the final sermon posted online next Sunday morning.  We are formulating ways to observe the celebration of the resurrection in the coming weeks as things unfold and will keep you informed.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 5:10-11 (NIV)

With you in His hands,