Series: The New Humanity
Preacher: Jessyka Dooley
Reflection: Tim Gillespie
Live Wonder: Verity Were
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Moe Stiles
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Exodus 20:8-11 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: When God interacts with humanity, something new is made! And this is true of when God began to interact with time as well. We see from the beginning of the creation narrative that He marked time with morning and evening. Time was a new innovation! At least the way that we experience it here on earth. This is pretty exciting stuff, to be sure.
And then God decided that He would do something even more radical—He would make some of this new time “holy” or set apart (Genesis 2:2.) This is the beginning of the Sabbath as holy and time as tithe, if you will.
Abraham Heschel, in his 1951 book The Sabbath, writes, “Time is the heart of existence.” He continues: “Technical civilization stems primarily from the desire of man to subdue and manage the forces of nature. Manufacturing all, all goes to man’s spatial surroundings.”
Even religions can be dominated by the notion that God resides in space.
Perhaps a better question than “Where is God” is “When is God?” This is a different question entirely. But you see, we cannot subdue time. In fact, all time is God’s time. We cannot master it, stop it, or slow it down.
Do you remember waiting for your birthday when you were younger? Time seemed to slow down. It didn’t, but your perception of it did. Now, as we get older, time seems to be moving too quickly. Also not true, but our perception changes with age. Time is this thing that we cannot control, but only experience. It is truly God’s.
Perhaps this creates a deeper understanding of the value of time both to God and to us. As Seventh-day Adventists, we have always placed a premium value on time. The Sabbath has been a blessing in our understanding of how God creates and maintains relationships with those who call Him Lord. It has also given us an opportunity to choose to prioritize God in the time that we have here on earth. The Sabbath has become an expression of our love, obedience, and faith in Jesus Christ.
Recalibrate: What does time mean to you? How do you prioritize your time? What makes your time valuable?
Respond: If you had all the time in the world, what would you do with it? Prioritize your time as if you had no restrictions, and then bring it back to reality and see if your lists match in any way.
Research: Read The Sabbath by Abraham Heschel.
Remember: “So the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11, ICB).
Dr. Timothy Gillespie is lead pastor of Crosswalk Church in Redlands, CA. He also teaches at several universities and consults on mission integration for Adventist Health.
With your little one, feel the rise and fall of your chest as you take deep breaths. This is fun to do if you child is a bit older and can keep their head on your tummy. Take deep breaths in and out. Sabbath is a day of breathing in deeply all that God has made for us.
Can you tell the time? Did you know that God created time? Do you have certain times to do things, like brushing your teeth or going to bed? The Sabbath is a time for resting in all the good that is around us. God did this in the very beginning of the world. You can read about it in Genesis 2:1-3.
Do you have any family traditions? Weekly, monthly, or yearly? You know, like on the first Sunday of the month you have a big family dinner or a family movie night, etc. My little family has created some traditions. Our boys know that if we are home on a Saturday evening (‘cause sometimes we are not—we are a pastoral family, which means more often than not we are doing something with our church), it’s movie night. We all take turns choosing a movie to watch. And granted, most weeks it takes us forever to choose a movie, especially when Caleb is choosing—his choice of movies and comedy is not our favorite and vice-versa. Even with all of our differences of opinions and thoughts on what makes for a great movie, we always honor the fact that Saturday evenings at home are family movie nights. We also have leftovers from lunch that day (or all the leftovers from the week that are still in the fridge). It’s one of our favorite family times!
In this week’s readings, we are going to focus on a weekly time tradition that has been in place since creation. If you have grown up in the Seventh-day Adventist tradition you’ll know that the practice of Sabbath is a big deal—it’s a weekly gathering of people! Yet it involves so much more than just the concept of time It’s also one of my favorite times of the week. What about you?
On the night before I was going to hike Mount Sinai, I needed to go to sleep early because we had to be at the mountain at 2:00 a.m. I decided to read through Exodus 20 before going to sleep to help refresh my memory about all of the things that had happened there so long ago. As I read through the chapter, I realized I hadn’t ever paid much attention to verse 18, which describes how the Israelites were scared because of the thunder and lightning coming from the mountain. They were so scared that they were trembling. Moses told everyone not to be afraid and then he approached God. I closed my Bible, somewhat freaked out about what I had read.
The next morning as we hiked up the mountain, I couldn’t even imagine so much drama had taken place there. I saw a beautiful mountain sunrise that day and one of my friends actually proposed to his girlfriend at the top! I wonder how I would have reacted if I had seen that thunder and lightning. Would I have felt comforted by God’s presence or would I have been trembling? I’ve noticed that not everyone is a fan of the Ten Commandments. Some people see them as irrelevant rules. I have seen others who delight in the God-given instruction. When you think of the Ten Commandments, what comes to mind? Fear? Joy?
Verity Were is a registered nurse at the largest pediatric intensive care unit in Sydney, Australia. She attends Kellyville Adventist church with her husband and two toddlers.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Moe Stiles is lead pastor at Oasis Church in Vancouver, WA. She is married to Adrian and is mother to Caleb and Johnny.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist at a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the faith engagement pastor at Boulder Church.