A Sabbath Journey
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him (Lk. 6:7, NRSV).
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he had controversies with the religious leaders about his actions on the Sabbath. They were angry when he and his disciples picked a few grains of wheat. They were angry when he healed someone. The reality is that they were just angry.
My pastor (Rev. Dan Schumacher) is beginning his sabbatical in just a couple of weeks.
Sometimes, when a pastor asks to take a sabbatical, there are “sabbatical controversies.” Why does the pastor need this time away? Who’s going to pay for this? What will happen if Great Aunt Bessie passes while the pastor is gone? – Who will do her funeral?
I don’t think our church will have these controversies. Why? For many reasons:
Dan and the church have been planning this for almost two years
The purpose and plans of the sabbatical have been clearly explained in multiple settings
The church and Dan received a Lilly Foundation grant. Some of the grant covers church expenses and some goes to Dan to underwrite the expense of the sabbatical
Dan and the leaders have done an excellent job of planning for the congregation as well as for his time away
The theme of this sabbatical is Play and Pray. This is not just for Pastor Dan, but also for the congregation. To be honest, I think the congregation is ready for Dan to go so they can get around to “playing.”
While Dan is away this summer, the congregation has a workshop on praying the labyrinth with Sr. Jan from the local Benedictine Monastery. They have three guided hikes scheduled around Colorado Springs. They have a bowling day and roller skating scheduled. They are going to the Olympic Museum and to an Escape room. They have two of their former resident pastors returning to preach and to have a “family meal” together. They are going to have a “watch party” as Pastor Dan and Christen renew their wedding vows. They even have a rappelling day scheduled.
You see, what I mean. The leaders have done an excellent job of planning for Dan’s time away.
Now I want to ask you, a couple things . . .
What are you planning this summer that helps you “play and pray?” Can your church plan some activities to help the church family rebuild some of the “fun” of playing together? In a very serious world, can we discover that childlike sense of play that we so desperately need?
What can you do to bless your pastor after two-plus long years of Covid ministry?
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them (Mk. 10:13-16, NRSV).
Receive me into your arms like a child. Let me rediscover the joy of play this summer. Help me to know the healing joy of playfulness. Amen.
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains