Good Sabbath…

Good Sabbath...in the forest

I pack the car early this morning, coughing after a fitful night’s sleep as the virus creates a dripping in my throat, like a faucet.  I need to prepare my sermon for this Sunday, which I’ve not been able to do this past week because of other obligations, in the San Bernardino mountains with 450 guys, and then in San Diego, with directors of camps from across the US.  Both places were filled with exhilarating discussions, and teaching opportunities for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

But the flight home found me sitting next to a man with a deep cough, and deep issues, so that my the time I landed in Seattle I was weary.  Yesterday was a great day, reconnecting with staff, and meeting a few other people, but as the day wore on, my throat started in, protesting the notion of work.  I had meetings until around 9PM, and it was then that I needed to get away to the writing cabin to work on the sermon.

So here I am, not working on the sermon.  Instead, I just took a hot bath, and am now writing while I boil a pear (my favorite remedy for a cough).  I’ll work soon enough, but somehow the forest, the birds, the bath, the fire – all of them are inviting me to rest a bit first.  And so I light a few candles, and just listen to the quiet.

My Lord, what a winter it’s been.  When I said yes to a book and a couple of speaking engagements, starting new locations for our church wasn’t on my radar, and I thought I’d be finished searching for a music pastor by now.  I built a life without margins, and then when things became even busier, there were no margins to absorb, or at least not enough margins.  It has me praying two things Lord….

1) Teach me to listen carefully to your voice, and not say yes, ever, out of insecurity.  May my ‘yes’ be only born out of the conviction that it’s your ‘yes’.   I’m grateful for opportunities to serve, but I know people who, it seems, have become hollowed out by saying yes to everything, and in the process withering up.  Paul reminds that I’m called to contentment – and that out of contentment comes the capacity to say yes and no, appropriately – every time.

2) Thank you for the gift of sabbath.  It’s a gift not all are able to enjoy, but I’m grateful that you’ve invited us to rest, to shalom, to moments of gentle restoration, worship, and the recovery of eyes to see your beauty.  Restore me this day, as I give you these hours.  And when the time is right – give me your revelation for what I must say on Sunday.

Thanks be to you O God, for the birds that grace the forest with song, for the new growth on the first, and the blossoms on the apple trees – you are the God of life, and what a glorious day.  So teach me contentment in these little things Lord, because I forgot my ski poles.   Good Sabbath Jesus -

Your friend… RD

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • http://www.2ten5.blogspot.com Lee

    Dear RD,

    Just returned from leading a Bible conference for a dear friend that included priceless fellowship and long conversations, including a discussion on our common goal for reaching/maintaining a sense of contentment in our ministries. Thanks for the confirming word/prayer in this post.

    Sincerely, Lee

  • http://www.2ten5.blogspot.com Lee

    Dear RD,

    Just returned from leading a Bible conference for a dear friend that included priceless fellowship and long conversations, including a discussion on our common goal for reaching/maintaining a sense of contentment in our ministries. Thanks for the confirming word/prayer in this post.

    Sincerely, Lee

  • Lisa

    You could just say that on Sunday, you know? It has the makings of a great sermon. Take care of yourself! I pray that you’ll be fully healed of your cough and weariness, in God’s time (which is hopefully by Sunday).

  • Lisa

    You could just say that on Sunday, you know? It has the makings of a great sermon. Take care of yourself! I pray that you’ll be fully healed of your cough and weariness, in God’s time (which is hopefully by Sunday).

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

    I love the last paragraph :) It sounds a lot like the little mini-prayers I shoot up daily. I hope you feel better soon- and I”ll have to investigate that pear idea!

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jadeejf Beth

    I love the last paragraph :) It sounds a lot like the little mini-prayers I shoot up daily. I hope you feel better soon- and I”ll have to investigate that pear idea!

  • Shonnie

    Along those lines, here’s a wonderful question I came across some months ago that I’ve been returning to ever since:
    Where is the “yes” I need to say in this moment,
    and what kinds of “no” are needed
    to protect that commitment?

    Thanks for this post and blessings upon whatever you say “yes” to there at the cabin…

  • Shonnie

    Along those lines, here’s a wonderful question I came across some months ago that I’ve been returning to ever since:
    Where is the “yes” I need to say in this moment,
    and what kinds of “no” are needed
    to protect that commitment?

    Thanks for this post and blessings upon whatever you say “yes” to there at the cabin…

  • Mark

    Your line about not saying yes out of insecurity hit me right between the eyes. I am realizing that much of what I agree to do in ministry is rooted in my desire to prove my worth, stroke my ego, and get props from people. Your post brings timely conviction for me and I’m joining you in your prayer this week.

  • Mark

    Your line about not saying yes out of insecurity hit me right between the eyes. I am realizing that much of what I agree to do in ministry is rooted in my desire to prove my worth, stroke my ego, and get props from people. Your post brings timely conviction for me and I’m joining you in your prayer this week.


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