It’s midsummer again and many of us are looking for a bit of rest, a change of pace, a time to renew and refresh. After the past two summers disrupted by virus concerns you may be hoping this year to travel to see family or friends face-to-face. It is a good and godly desire to seek a time of rest, refreshment, and renewed relationships. Our God is a sabbath celebrating, relationship affirming God.
At the same time, a clear-eyed look at the news reveals this is also a time of unrest, strained relationships and evident anxiety. Maybe some of you have had the perception that something is not quite right, somethings are not normal; it may even feel like society is spinning out of control. I know I have felt that way. We see the problems and our feelings confirm the unrest.
It is good to remember that this “feeling of the age” is not unique to our time or place. The world has experienced similar and much worse times in the past. This is not merely to state, “this too will pass … it will all come out okay in the end.” Let’s not stick our heads in the sand and simply expect it to get better, but let us know that there is true hope and let us fix our eyes on that hope.
In 1947, in the wake of the Second World War, a German philosopher, Josef Pieper presented an essay in Bonn, Germany, entitled “Leisure the Basis of Culture.” Amidst the rubble, ruin and wreckage in the aftermath of war, Pieper made a case, not for rolling up the sleaves and getting to work physically rebuilding infrastructure, but rather to provide time for leisure to rebuild a good and just culture. “Leisure” does not mean inactivity, doing nothing at all. Leisure means celebration. He said, “the soul of leisure, it can be said, lies in ‘celebration’.” And Pieper asserted that true celebration could only be rooted in the worship of God.
This week I will begin a four-part series on the opening chapters of 1 Samuel. The book of Samuel depicts a time analogous to our own: a time of longing for the presence of God and for the assurance of God’s promise for a Righteous Ruler. Samuel makes it clear. In times of turmoil and uncertainty there is hope.
Our God is a present and promise keeping God.
The passage for this week is 1 Samuel 2:11-3:21.
Several months ago, I preached on the first chapter of 1 Samuel. I expect to briefly mention that passage in context. Should you want to refresh your memory, the link for that sermon, “Longing of the Heart – 1 Samuel 1:1-28”.
Last week Pastor Jos suggested reading an entire, lengthy book of the Bible this summer. The writings of Doctor Luke, the Gospel of Luke and Acts were suggested as excellent possibilities. Should you instead choose Samuel, I will be giving some tips on how to read this masterpiece of writing.