Summer Sermon Series:
Worship Where You Are
For the last year, we have been worshipping together where we are: around kitchen tables, on back porches, in college dorms, hospital rooms in New York City, Mozambique, and on California beaches. It might bring us some peace to linger in the wonder of God’s gift of human ingenuity which allows us to connect while physically apart. These new worship and discipleship technologies enable us to maintain sabbath practises and connect to our community, when we are traveling, ill, or otherwise unable to physically be in worship. Online worship puts a whole new adaptive spin on Hebrews 10:25 “Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other!”
Sabbath practices sustain us. We grow closer to God, ourselves, each other and a significant life when we practice daily and weekly Sabbath. We need sabbath wherever we are. God’s Commandment to reserve one day for holy endeavours was given to Moses on a mountain top during a 40 year camping trip. Abraham and Sarah heard God’s call under a canopy of stars. Moses met God before a burning bush. Our Hebrew ancestors moved their church tent around until Solomon built a stationary temple. Rabbinical Judaism or local Synagogue (gathered community) worship prospered during the Exile. Jesus taught in fields, on boat docks and by the mountainside. Peter dreamed of a new inclusive church while napping by the Mediterranean Sea. Paul carried the church into the marketplace and pagan temples. Lydia and Priscilla led churches in people’s homes. John Wesley preached in the coal fields and inside prisons. Methodist Circuit Riders carried the hymnal across American wilderness on horseback. The Christian movement flourishes outside of buildings bringing God’s kindom on earth as in heaven.
So even as we rejoice as some of us can return to in-person worship, we know that we do not need to be present at 21st and Acklen to keep the Sabbath holy and connect to our church family. No matter where we find ourselves, we can make time to be holy. Will you commit to a practice of weekly worship in order to sustain your soul and build God’s kindom of love and justice? Will you join the livestream from a hotel balcony? Will you download a Belmont UMC podcast, or print out the worship kit while you hike into God’s wilderness? Will you post a picture of your sabbath altar on social media to invite others to find God where they are? Will you stay connected to God and neighbor wherever you are? Will you keep the sabbath practices so that you can sustain your soul and help build Christ’ kin-dom on earth?
Why Sabbath, both daily and weekly:
Sabbath routines connect us with the sacred; beauty, love, and justice.
Sabbath opens our minds to the scriptures.
Sabbath draws us into communion God, community and ourselves.
Sabbath stirs ours souls with the prayer and poetry of faith, hope, and love.
Sabbath sends us forth to help heal the world.
Let us resolve to worship where we are!
May 16 - To the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:1-11)
May 23 - Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. (Acts 2:1-20)
May 30 - Spiritual renewal. (John 3:16)
June 6 - Jesus’ family (Mark 3:20-35)
June 13 - A life of forgiveness, reconciliation, and representation. (2 Corinthians 4:16-52; 5:13-20)
June 20 - You can only control yourself. (2 Corinthians 6:1-13)
June 27 - Suffering, illness, recognition, and healing. (Mark 5: 21-41)
July 4 - Prophets are not honored in their hometowns. (Mark 6:1- 13)
July 11 Our relationship to the earth. (Psalm 24:1-2; 85:1, 8-13)