Sabbath-keeping: The most productive decision you will make

In a lab in South Minneapolis, there’s a room that’s 99.99% sound proof. It holds the Guinness World’s Record for being the quietest place on earth. It’s got 3-foot thick fiberglass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated steel and concrete that’s over a foot thick.

NASA rents out the room to train astronauts.

Whirlpool used it to test washing machines. The

Harley Davidson Company used it to make their motorcycles quieter.

Steven Orfield, the President of the Company that created the sound proof lab, said that when he goes inside, he can hear the artificial valve in his heart tick.

He said, “The quieter the room, the more things you will hear.” The sounds of silence actually becomes quite unnerving for most people, as the record for the longest stay in the room is j only 45 minutes.

I was reading about this room in an article recently, and realized (really, remembered, because I’ve known it,) that I I would probably be one of the many that would only be able to stay only for a few minutes before going completely bonkers.

Because I’m addicted. Addicted to being worth something to the world.

Addicted to proving that I was meant to be here, that I was intended to exist.

Addicted to being liked, and to receiving validation from what I accomplish.

Addicted to activity—where it becomes harder and harder to face myself in the dark, in the mirror, in sheer silence.

If we’re honest, you and I can admit we are all addicted to something—some of us it’s drugs or alcohol or food, others it’s gambling or just spending money when we need a little fix to escape or to make ourselves feel better. But for others of us, there are more sneaky addictions that we seldom catch—until it is too late.

They come in the form of good things that go on overdrive—overdone strengths: like being addicted to work. Or being addicted to socializing because we are so afraid of being alone or left behind. Or, like our youth have taught me, there is this new phenomena they call FOMO-Fear of Missing Out—and it’s a hashtag based on a fear that has taken over a generation.

That’s one of the reasons why men and women across the U.S. are having a harder and harder time getting the sleep they need. Our world is full to the brim with stimulation — bright lights and big screens, alerts and messages, and media in every direction we look. This reality has been growing bigger year after year in the past two decades.

According to data reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of people seeking ER care due to adverse reactions to the sleeping aids they take had increased a dramatic 220 percent in the past five years. This is not just a mental or physical problem, but a spiritual problem that has practical implications for our life.

We are starting this series RESET: Discovering God’s Time—to talk about Sabbath—why God challenges us to it, the history behind it, and how to do it. And we are tackling this for a few reasons: because we need it. We need to confront our addictions. Because it’s part of our history in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one that has been largely forgotten. And because our churches are so immersed in an on-the-go, Energizer battery culture these days, it’s hard, almost impossible, for us to genuinely talk about it, and break the cycle to become part of the solution.

And today, we are going to talk about the reality that we say with our lips that God is our fortress, God is our strength, but we live in a way that suggests differently.

So Psalm 46 starts off with the suggestion that God is our refuge.

What does refuge mean to you?

When you hear that word, what image comes to mind?

Some might say REFUGE is their bed or their camp.

Mine: God as the host in an all-inclusive resort—Come, Fly with me…

Maybe some of you vets think of a bunker in war.

Or can refuge be as simple as love: a Hug from a parent?

Yes, God is our refuge, but from what? From whom?

Too often the Christian community uses the pinnacle phrase of this Psalm, “Be still and know that I am God!” as an invitation or an excuse to ignore or withdraw from a violent and noisy world—when scripture says,

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present[a] help in trouble.

…we think of everything and everyone else around us.

Most usages of this phrase are pulled outside of the context of the psalm and refer to the stillness of relaxing or quiet meditation.

But That is not the kind of stillness to which this psalm refers. The phrase is more like the sound of a parent sharply correcting a fidgeting child:

“Be still!”

This is not a stillness of a massage parlor with quiet music. It is a stillness of snapping to attention, of dropping whatever is in your hands or distracting you, and attending carefully to our own creatureliness—that we can’t save the world or our problems by ourselves, no matter how hard we work, and that there will always be things left undone.

Do You ever feel like you are in a constant battle of the mind and heart?

Oftentimes the battle that we are fighting is not with a world that is constantly raging with demands and expectations…

…it is a battle with ourselves.

in fact it’s that we are the enemy that God is trying to stop—from consuming, from abusing our bodies to the point of collapse—GOD wants to help the warring within us cease.

see what desolations he has brought on the earth, SCRIPTURE SAYS.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

The psalmist talks about not destroying armies but armaments—the weapons we use to destroy ourselves—whether that be an addiction to productivity, or a preoccupation with money, a need to be liked or needed, or a life so packed without margin because we are afraid of what with empty space…it’s these WEAPONS God is coming to take and destroy for our own good, and to remind us that we are sons and daughters of a Mighty King.

MSG version says: GOd Bans this war from pole to pole,
breaks all the weapons across his knee.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!

You are living in a culture that knows one speed—and that takes courage and perseverance to do something different. How will you live that courage in a day or piecing together parts of days where that space is given?

 

Make a commitment. Keep it. And let’s rely on each other to come to discover the joy of God’s Sabbath.

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