Transcendent Peace and Rest

Scripture Focus: Hebrews 4.1-3
1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said…

Reflection: Transcendent Peace and Rest
By  John Tillman

Quarantine experiences vary widely. Some of us are at leisure while some are pushed to work around the clock. Some suffer in boredom and some in financial panic. Some are in danger outside the home at essential jobs and some are in danger in the home from abusers they cannot leave home to avoid.

Despite the variety of our experiences, there is a resource available to believers that the rest of the world cannot tap. It is a type of rest in which the busiest can recharge and a type of refreshment and stimulation unavailable in the most captivating leisure activity. There is a place of peace that those in peril can hold on to. There is security unattainable even by those with stockpiles of resources. Christians can rest in God.

This is a spiritual rest that can exist in the midst of strenuous activity. It is transcendent rest, that is unassailable by physical suffering. It is rest that, although invisible, is as tangible as our next breath.

Hebrews speaks of this rest by referencing the Genesis account. Many commenters note that the end of the seventh day, the day of rest, is not noted as the others are. It has no “morning and evening,” no beginning and no end. God’s “rest” was not intended to end. But for sin, Adam and Eve may have lived in a continual “seventh day” period, experiencing “shalom” or peace with God. 

In Jewish culture, sabbath, or shabbat, and peace, or shalom, are linked. We find shalom within shabbat. We find peace within the sabbath. This weekly illustration was never intended to mean that we can only have peace on one day out of seven. Instead, we can experience God’s peace in every day and any moment. Hebrews tells us that “we who have believed enter that rest.” 

God has made a new day for us to live in. The author of Hebrews and David the psalmist call it “Today.” It is a day of opportunity. This day we choose who we serve, as Joshua said on the banks of the Jordan. God sets before us the Promised Land, the Sabbath rest. 

Israel, when they trusted their strength, failed. So will we. Israel, when they trusted in wealth, caused needless death. So will we. Israel, when they trusted only in God, saw impossibly great walls fall to the ground. So will we.

Trust and enter his rest. Carry his peace with you always.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
The Lord is near to those who call upon him, to all who call upon him faithfully. — Psalm 145.19

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Song of Songs 4 (Listen – 2:46)
Hebrews 4 (Listen -2:43)

Read more about A Restoring Sabbath
This post by Dena Dyer from 2019 reminds us of the value of a Sabbath. How are you using the unintentional Sabbath of Quarantine? How are you allowing yourself and your “land” to rest

Read more about Better Things to Do
Amos 8.5-6, 11
When will..the Sabbath be ended
that we may market wheat?
…buying the poor with silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals…


Praying Through Ancient Hymns :: Worldwide Prayer

*Our devotionals for the next week and into the following week will focus on prayer. May this prayer and prayerful hymn, prepare our hearts.

Reflection: Praying Through Ancient Hymns :: Worldwide Prayer
By John Tillman

This prayer from Australia is interspersed with verses from William Henry Draper’s hymn “All creatures of our God and King.” 

Draper’s hymn, written around the turn of the century in 1899 and widely published in 1919, is a loose translation/paraphrase of one of the most ancient hymns of the church. The text is taken from Saint Francis’ Canticle of the Sun written in 1224, near the end of Francis’ life and amidst suffering from illness. Parts of Canticle are based on Psalm 148.

It seems much of the most profound art in the church was originally intended for children. This hymn is one example, being penned and set to music for the purposes of a children’s celebration before gaining its immense popularity that has seen two centuries of use in worship.

May we then, with childlike faith, approach God’s throne as Francis would have us do—as brothers and sisters, united through the Holy Spirit with each other, with nature, and with Christ, nature’s Maker and Lord.

*If unfamiliar with the hymn or tune, you may find lyrics and tune in this video.

A Responsive Song of Praise
From Australia

Creator of all, we praise your name. Large and small, important and insignificant, plain and beautiful, all are part of your Kingdom.

(sung)
All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice with us sing,
Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thou burning sun with golden beam, thou silver moon with softer gleam.
O praise Him, O praise Him.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


Creator of wind, clouds, and the evening, we see your love of beauty and order.
We bring our heartfelt thanks for the beauty of the skies.

(sung)
Thou rushing wind that art so strong, ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise Him, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thou rising morn in praise rejoice.
Ye lights of evening find a voice, 
O praise Him, O praise Him.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


For humankind, the crown of your creation we pray for wisdom and peace.
May there be peace with brothers and sisters, black and white, rich and poor, powerful and weak.

(sung)
And all ye men of tender heart, forgiving others take your part,
O sing ye, Alleluia.
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, praise Him and on Him cast your care.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


Creator, sustainer we magnify your wondrous name. You are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, We worship you as Lord and King, we worship you as companion and friend, we worship you as leader and as servant.

(sung)
Let all things their creator bless and worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
Praise the Father, praise the Son, and praise the Spirit three in one!
O praise Him, O praise Him!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Amen.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.

*Song: “All Creatures of Our God and King” – recording by David Crowder Band


Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holds our souls in life and will nor allow our feet to slip.— Psalm 66:7-8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 21 (Listen -4:06)
Hebrews 3  (Listen -2:25)

This Weekend’s Readings
2 Kings 22 (Listen -3:45), Hebrews 4 (Listen -2:43)
2 Kings 23 (Listen -7:43), Hebrews 5  (Listen -1:57)

Thank You!
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Read more about Praying as Music
If music is a universal language, prayer can be similarly described. Prayer is humankind’s universal language of love to God. — Dr. Tony Cupit

Read more about We Confess :: Worldwide Prayer
When we call others to confession, we ought to be inviting them to join us, not sending them somewhere we’ve never been.

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