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The sabbath and sanctifying time

But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, Isaiah 40:31a


Dear Friends in Christ,


This Monday, I begin my sabbatical, returning Monday, August 1. A sabbatical is a kind of sabbath keeping, seeking God and God’s renewal after six years of service. Keeping the sabbath holy is one of the ten commandments, and with good reason. The sabbath is not simply a day off. The sabbath is about sanctifying time. On Sundays, we set aside the pursuit of our careers and busyness to rely solely on God, to seek God and honor God intentionally, with commitment and regularity. In so doing, we sanctify the whole week, grounding ourselves in God’s provision for us, in God’s sovereignty and honor, not just for one day a week, but for seven.


Sabbath keeping sanctifies time the way that tithing sanctifies our resources. When we give to God beyond ourselves or our family, we remind ourselves of God’s calls to us in what we keep and how we spend. Tithing is a way to sanctify to God 100% of our resources, and sabbath keeping is a way to sanctify to God 100% of our time.

So it is with a sabbatical. Clergy hope, in taking sabbatical time, to return refreshed and renewed and better equipped by God to serve with energy and fresh perspective. I plan to pray and write (a book and Bible Study that I hope to lead in the parish when I return) and to spend time in ministry with Fr. Ramón Betances at St. Jude’s in South Cobb, learning to know his community and discerning ways in which we might further partner in ministry together. And, of course, I hope to rest and renew as a child of God, and a husband and father. In so doing, I hope to return to you with fresh energy for continued ministry in the days ahead.

Please pray for me and for the parish as well. This is a chance for you all to see a fresh vision of the parish and how God is at work among you. Mother Elisa and Bishop Don and others will serve you ably while I’m away, and our staff and vestry continue to lead with talent and faithfulness. I commend to you all as well the practice of sabbath keeping: in worship, fellowship, study and prayer, sanctifying time and growing more deeply as Jesus’ disciples.


To learn more about my sabbatical, click HERE


God bless you always!


Yours in Christ,


-Tom

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