Saved for More [Beyond Sunday]

Every Easter we come to the story of the resurrection, and hopefully, we hear it again anew.  This is our central story, the one that makes us who we are as Christian people.  In the account of the resurrection, we discover that not only are we saved from death, but we are saved for a life of abundance.  We are saved for more than we could ever imagine.  [hear sermon audio]

Devotion time is crucial to your growth in faith.  Here are some resources for yours this week:

Read:

Reflect:

  • How does each account of the resurrection differ?
  • What might be most important to each writer?
  • Why is the resurrection important to your life?  How do you live differently because of it?

Do:

  • Bring Life:Look around your life and community.  What is dead or struggling and in need of new life?  Does a garden need to be planted?  Do people need to be fed? Does a relationship need to be restored? Make a simple plan and take the first step this week. 

Share:

  • Many poems have been written about the resurrection.  Find one and share it to our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

You Need Consecration [Beyond Sunday]

 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes

1 Corinthians 11:26

God uses often uses ordinary things for holy purposes.  Baptism uses ordinary water; communion uses ordinary bread and juice; sabbath is ordinary time that has been set aside.  By our participation in these things, we–who are oridinary people– are made holy.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, be invited to explore the importance of sabbath time for rest, rhythm, healing, wisdom, and consecration.  Sermons from our series can be heard here.

This week, try one of these practices and embrace some sabbath for yourself:

Confession

Before Sabbath time, choose a quiet place. Come to rest. Allow the heart and mind to speak of things that need to be spoken aloud, if only to the candle on the altar. Say aloud those things for which you feel a need for forgiveness, ways in which you were not clear, honest, or kind. If you feel comfortable, you can share this with another—a priest, minister, or rabbi, a therapist, a friend, a stranger. Notice how much of your grasping during the week is to make these things go away. Notice how they dissolve so much more easily when they are simply spoken aloud.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (pp. 198-199). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A Place at the Table

When we gather for a Sabbath meal, we partake of the spiritual companionship of all who have loved us, all we love, all who have gone before and will come after. Everyone we have touched, those who have taught or held or nourished us all come to the table. It is good to be mindful of our ancestors, our loved ones, our extended family who could not join us in body for this blessed meal. So when you eat, set a place, complete with plate, glass, and silverware, an empty place to hold the awareness of all who join you there in spirit.  For any sacred meal, it is good to leave a place of invitation, mindful of all those with whom we are, now and forever, consecrated family.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 203). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

You Need Wisdom[Beyond Sunday]

Be still and know that I am God!

Psalm 46:10

Sabbath asks us to let go, not only of work, but of the illution that our work can save us.  It reminds us that only God is God, and we are not.  That can be both uncomfortable, and reassuring depending on whether or not we are willing to embrace wisdom.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, be invited to explore the importance of sabbath time for rest, rhythm, healing, wisdom, and consecration.  Sermons from our series can be heard here.

This week, try one of these practices and embrace some sabbath for yourself:

Thinning

What can you let go of? One thing, beginning with the smallest thing. A book unread—can it be given to the library? An old postcard on the refrigerator, no longer current? An old appliance, never used? Old clothing, never worn, to the poor? What of projects that feel like responsibilities but bring joy to no one? Pick one thing this week, another the next, and discard something that has become unnecessary. Feel any release as you let it go.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 185). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Cleansing

Sabbath is traditionally preceded by ritual bathing, a cleansing of the old, a preparation to receive the new. This allows a visceral sense of beginner’s body as well as beginner’s mind. Hands are washed before the meal, bodies are bathed before making love. Ritual cleansing, more than the soap and water, opens us to receive anew. Set aside some time for bathing, long and easy, with fragrances, candles, music. Pay attention to your body, wash yourself gently and with care for every inch of skin.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 191). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You Need Healing [Beyond Sunday]

Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.”  He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again.  The angel of the Lordcame a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.”  He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

1 Kings 19:5-8

When we come to that moment at the end of our strength, how often do we stop and allow God to heal?  Rest and restoration cannot happen in the midst of unrelenting activity.  And we need rest and restoration or even our victories will start to feel like burdens and our journey will become too much.

Throughout these 40 days of Lent, be invited to explore the importance of sabbath time for rest, rhythm, healing, wisdom, and consecration.  Sermons from our series can be heard here.

This week, try one of these practices and embrace some sabbath for yourself:

Create and Altar

Create a space for an altar, nothing elaborate. It can be a small table, even a box with a colorful cloth. Sit quietly, perhaps in meditation, for a few moments, and imagine what belongs there. Allow images to arise, people, sacred objects, things that hold meaning or great love. Then place these things, one at a time, on the altar, noting how you feel to see them so honored. You may want to light a candle, say a prayer. Let this be a place you come to, a Sabbath in your home, whenever you need to remember something precious you have forgotten.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 107). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Sleep on It

Think once again of a particular problem that concerns you. Just as in the last exercise, imagine there are forces at work that are already healing what needs to be healed; it only requires your surrender. Let it be. In the evening, turn it over to the care of God, the angels, and all the Buddhas, all the spirits of the earth and sky. When you awaken in the morning, look at the problem again, and see what has grown there, quietly, invisibly in the night.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 170). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You Need Rhythm [Beyond Sunday]

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…

That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,15

No amount of hustle will add days to your life or value to your soul.  No amount of planning or work can insulate you from the ups and downs of life.  For some of us, to admit that God is in control is a difficult thing because it means acknowledging that we are not. Yet surrendering the illusion of workism frees us to a healthier rhythm of life.

In observing the Sabbath, we are relieved of the burden of false responsibility for our lives.  Throughout these 40 days of Lent, be invited to explore the importance of sabbath time for rest, rhythm, healing, wisdom, and consecration.  Sermons from our series can be heard here.

This week, try one of these practices and embrace some sabbath for yourself:

Cadence of Breath

One beautiful form of meditation is to simply follow the breath. Sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Let yourself become aware of the physical sensation of the breath, feeling the shape, texture, and duration of the inhale and the exhale. Do not change your breathing, do not strain or push in any way. Simply watch the breath breathe itself. Feel the rhythm of the breath, feel its timing, the end of the exhale, the readiness to inhale. When the mind wanders—as it will—do not worry. Simply return your awareness to the breath. Silently note each inhale or exhale, mentally noting in, out or rising, falling. Do this for five minutes at first. What do you notice about the rhythm of rest in your breathing? What do you notice about the rhythm of breath in your body?

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (pp. 74-75). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Prayer

Prayer is like a portable Sabbath, when we close our eyes for just a moment and let the mind rest in the heart. Traditional Sabbaths are filled with prayers. But we can begin slowly, with a simple prayer, like a pebble dropped into the middle of our day, rippling out over the surface of our life. Like the Muslims who stop to pray five times a day, like the Angelus, we can be stopped by a bell, a sunset, a meal, and we can pray. Something close to the heart, and simple. Perhaps a line from the Twenty-third Psalm, the Lord’s Prayer, a short blessing: May all beings be happy, may all beings be at peace. Thank you, God, for this most amazing day. The Lord is my shepherd. Thy will be done.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (pp. 86-87). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You Need to Rest [Beyond Sunday]

As Wayne Muller writes: “For want of rest, our lives are in danger.”  Too many of us have bought the idea that our success, even our worth, lies in what we do and what we produce.   Even people of faith attempt to baptise overwork by saying it is for God.  But God never asked for endless labor.  We cannot be made holy by the work of our hands, or hearts, or minds.

Rest, sabbath rest, is both and command and a blessing from God.  Throughout these 40 days of Lent, be invited to explore the importance of sabbath time for rest, rhythm, healing, wisdom, and consecration.  Sermons from our series can be heard here.

This week, try one of these practices and embrace some sabbath for yourself:

Light a Candle

Three generations back

my family had only

to light a candle

and the world parted.

Today, Friday afternoon,

I disconnect clocks and phones.

When night fills my house

with passages,

I begin saving my life.

—MARCIA FALK

 

Find a candle that holds some beauty or meaning for you. When you have set aside some time—before a meal, or during prayer, meditation, or simply quiet reading—set the candle before you, say a simple prayer or blessing for yourself or someone you love, and light the candle. Take a few mindful breaths. For just this moment, let the hurry of the world fall away.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (p. 21-22). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

Observe Silence

Sabbath time is enriched by some period of intentional silence. Choose a period of time or an activity—such as a walk or hike, alone or with someone you love—when you will refrain from speech. Notice what arises in silence, the impulse to speak, the need to judge or respond to what you see, hear, feel. Notice any discomfort that arises when you are not free to speak.

Muller, Wayne. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (pp. 55-56). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Grow in Service [Beyond Sunday]

 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?”  And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”  But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”  They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;  but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

-Mark 10:35-40

All of us have an instinct to shine, to be the best at something, to gain attention for our accomplishments.  But Christ says the way of discipleship is not one of glory, but one of service to others.   [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to dive into these scriptures and questions during your devotion time.

Read:

Reflect:

  • Who in your community is underserved?
  • Who needs to hear about Jesus?
  • What comforts might you have to sacrifice so others can hear the good news of Jesus?

Do:

  • Get uncomfortable: Make a list of changes and opportunities around you that make you uncomfortable.  Ask yourself how your comfort contributes to the needs of others and how it interfers.  Pick one item and do something this week to push beyond your comfort zone.

Share:

  • Find someone who needs an act of kindness this week and do some thing nice for them without recognition.
  • share a story of how someones service to your impacted your life in our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

Grow in Attention [Beyond Sunday]

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing…

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

-John 15: 5, 10-11

Simone Weil wrote: “Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love. Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.” As we explore what it means to live in Christian community we begin with these two things.  That we owe one another our prayers and our presence; we owe attention.    [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to dive into these scriptures and questions during your devotion time.

Read:

Reflect:

  • Where does your attention focus most often during your day?
  • Where does your mind attend when you pray?
  • Who in your life might need your attention either in prayer or presence?

Do:

  • Show up for someone: Make a point this week to schedule time with someone you haven’t seen in awhile.  Come with no agenda other than hearing how they are and asking how you can best show up for them right now.

Share:

  • Hold someone in prayer each day for the week.  At the end write them a small note, letting them know you were praying for them.
  • Take a selfie with someone you show up for this week and share it in our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

Fear of Our End [Beyond Sunday]

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters;

he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I fear no evil;

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff—

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

my whole life long.

-Psalm 23

It has been said: getting old isn’t easy, but the alternative is worse.  Most people carry a fear of both dying and of growing old.  But, surveys show that older people are usually happier than anyone else.  And as Christians, the core of our faith is that death indeed holds no power.  [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to dive into these scriptures and questions during your devotion time.

Read:

Reflect:

  • Take a look at the Service of Death and Resurrection in the United Methodist Hymnal (#870) or online at umcdiscipleship.org.  Make a plan for your service.  What scriptures would you like read?  What hymns or songs sung? Notice how you feel during the process.  What questions does it raise for you about dying?

Do:

  • Ask a guide: Invite to lunch someone you consider to be in the “next stage of life”.  Ask them about their experience of aging and what they have learned along the way.  Share your fears about growing older and see how they respond.

Share:

  • Find a song you hope would summarize your life when you die. Share it in our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).

 

Fear of What’s To Come [Beyond Sunday]

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good;

-1 Thesselonians 5:16-21

It is impossible to know what is ahead. Sometimes we fear that change will mean loosing thing we love.  Sometimes we fear we’ll miss out on fun or opportunities.  But if we are focused on our fears, they multiply.  If we can be grateful for the present moment, it is easier to move forward into what God has in store.    [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to dive into these scriptures and questions during your devotion time.

Read:

Reflect:

  • Journal about a future event or possibility you are anxious about.
    • Write a title at the top of the page.
    • Write the facts you know next 
    • Divide the next section of the page in half.  On one side write the three things you are most afraid of.  On the other, write three things you hope for.
    • Below write a prayer naming your hope to God and asking for discernment in the midst of fear.

Do:

  • Gratitude Cards: Get a stack of index cards or post-it notes.  Each day, write on at least one card, something you are grateful for.  At the end of the week, go through all the cards, giving thanks to God for all the good things in your present.

Share:

  • Write out one thing you hope for the future and share it in our Facebook group or on Twitter and Instagram (tag us @dpumc).