Sermon – Keeping the rhythm of creation (Exodus 20)

Sermon = Keeping the rhythm of creation
Text = Exodus 20
Sunday = 18th Sunday after Pentecost (A)

When our theology is right then our sociology will be right


    • *** On a cold day in November
    • Armetta drops me off at the seminary on her way to work
    • Very early and only person there
    • Find a room downstairs to stay until class begins
    • What do for 45 minutes? Pray? Study?
    • Watch television
    • See large pastor speaking to his church
    • “Oh no – TV preacher??? Will listen for just a minute”
    • He is very good
    • Talking about Exodus 20
    • Ten Commandments
    • Invites us to notice first 3 commandments
    • Focus on God and our relationship with him as creator and redeemer
    • Last 6 commandments
    • Focus on relationship with other people
    • Principles to guide relationship with God
    • Principles to guide relationship within human community
    • Go together… balance each other… even make the other possible
    • Love God completely… and live like it

    • By demonstrating love toward our neighbor
    • When our theology is right our sociology will be right
    • When relationship with God what it should be
    • Relationship between humans also be what is should be
    • Not one nor the other but both
    • This does not surprise us
    • Very Wesleyan… very Methodist
    • Ted Campbell, Methodist Doctrine
    • Process of being sanctified is inward and outward
    • Who we are and how we act
    • Goal = entire sanctification… even Christian perfection
    • Perfect love of God and neighbor
    • *** Personal and social holiness
    • Yes but how?
    • Not enough to know what is right
    • How do we cooperate with and respond to grace of God at work within us?
    • Just keep ten commandments???
    • They are important and we need them
    • Not all laws and teachings of God
    • And now what we must do in order to be loved and saved by God
    • Rather how we respond in gratitude and commitment to what God does
    • Ten simple strokes describe basic shape of how people of God live out our salvation
    • Basic shape of new life in Christ
    • *** Yes but do not… do not… do not…
    • You will not… not… not… not… Thou shalt not
    • Most of commandments are negative
    • What not to do
    • Although every negative implies a positive
    • You have heard it said… I say to you love your enemies… pray for them
    • Two commandments stand out
    • One of them is Second honor your father and mother
    • The second one is First longest commandment of all
    • Says “do this… and how… and why”
    • Commandment we break perhaps most of all
    • Do not even think about it
    • Commandment that bridges relationship with God and with others in our community
    • Holds theology + sociology together in harmony and balance


  • Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy


  • Sam Balentine
  • *** Taught us this commandment is placed here on purpose between the commandments that focus on our relationship with God and the commandments that focus on our relationship within human community
  • Important way we hold together love for God + love for neighbor
  • Faithful to God + faithful toward other people who bear the image of God
  • Christian church almost never talks about this
  • Although for several years is starting to
  • Especially when surrounding culture becoming more hostile to religion and Christianity especially
  • Less people attend church or continue to practice the Christian faith
  • We are becoming more like culture around us that rejects God and good news of the kingdom of God in Christ Jesus
  • Rod Dreher wrote The Benedict Option
  • *** How we continue and thrive as people of God in Christ
  • Basic most important way
  • Joyfully say “yes” to eternal truths
  • Keep life giving practices of Christian faith in community
  • How did Jewish people remain faithful in exile and when scattered
  • Many ways
  • Especially sabbath keeping
  • Wrote 26 short articles on sabbath keeping
  • Cannot summarize everything
  • What… how… why
  • (1) What?
    • *** Sunday? Saturday?
    • What matters is one day or part of one day
    • Recommend Saturday to Sunday evening
  • (2) How?
    • Christians debate this
    • Remember to make it holy
    • Whatever day… treat it differently
    • “Holy” expresses different and special
    • This time is different
    • Dress nice? Nice dinner? Family prayer?
    • We can explore + develop ways together
    • Important way = do not work
    • No job work… no housework
    • Rest and pray… Worship and play
    • Make it possible for others to keep sabbath as well
  • (3) Why?
    • *** Looks back to God and creation
    • When God created… he rested
    • What God does… creatures do
    • Let go of our need to work + manage + earn
    • Let God be God for one day
    • Sabbath keeping is built into creation itself
    • Part of rhythm of universe
    • Work… do… make… manage… rest
    • Much more we can say
    • Finish with two short quotes
  1. *** I am convinced Sabbath is an important discipline for the Christian community to rediscover and practice anew because it affects every other dimension of living as the people of God… of being creatures (Rick Wright, ~ 2006)
  2. Abraham Heschel
    1. The sabbath is the day we learn the art of surpassing civilization (The Sabbath)
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