"God's Second Wonderful Gift to Us" (Guest Speaker Gweneth Schwab)

Announcements, thanksgiving praises, and prayer requests:

-     Praise that Peggy’s arm surgery went very well; Pray for her shoulder surgery plans;

-     Lift up Star’s health concerns and her family;

-     Praise that Olivia has a new kitten, Mia; Lift up her transition to kindergarten and all starting classes;

-     Plan to attend the congregational meeting Sunday, 8/26, at 12:15 with a short agenda;

-     Small Group Ministry Fair after church Sunday, 9/9;

-     Welcome back pastor Kevin & family return this week! (We enjoyed seeing Alex today!)

Our scripture reading, among others, was Isaiah 55:1-3. Our offertory was a sweet and honest instrumental rendition of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” / “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” by Conrad (violin) with simple piano accompaniment by Genevieve. The main worship was led by Michael, on guitar--joined later by Lucy on piano. Lamb of God and Come Now is the Time to Worship were particularly poignant and referenced by Gweneth, our guest speaker.

Gweneth was charged to bring us the Worship through the Word, titled: God’s Second Wonderful Gift to Us. We pondered God’s heaping pile of gifts to us. The gift we focused on today, the Sabbath, can be thought of as unnatural and radical. We traversed a couple paths, through Exodus and Deuteronomy, and stopped to devour meaty morsels from Genesis, Hebrews, Nehemiah, and Amos, et al.

We took perspective seeing how one day begins in the evening (darkness), like the first day, and transcends to daytime (light). We then telescoped out to look at the post-creation 7th day cycle, the annual feast cycle, the 7 year Sabbath cycle, the 50 year (after 7 x 7 years) Year of Jubilee cycle. God’s plan facilitated building up of the lowest social class of society and even soil conservation.

Some other key points included:

-          It’s easy to dismiss Sabbath keeping as legalism and miss out on God’s loving and very real plan

-          Keep the Sabbath, like tending a garden

-          Why observe the Sabbath?

o       Remember and pass on that we were slaves that God paid dearly to deliver

o       It’s your loving Father’s command to keep the Sabbath, and desecrating it is serious

o       It’s a tithe of our time and puts on hold our productivity (testifying of our respect and profound trust)

o       It is God’s gift to us (and not a fund-raiser for God) from a loving Father

o       It builds up the loving community of the Body of Christ

o       It is an opportunity for us to be like God

o       It…is good (and is declared so by the Creator King of the multiverse)

o       The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath

Our final worship song, Oh Happy Day, invoked joy, clapping, and movement directed to our Lord. In her own candid and inspired fashion Gweneth gave a benediction that literally included a verbal blessing to each person in the room. After the service many of us extended our Sabbath family fellowship today sharing pizza and enjoying each other’s company as we drafted our fantasy football teams. We look forward to and hope to share our next Sabbath with you.