Saturday, December 10, 2011

Second Saturday of Advent

Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
    his praise in the assembly of the
Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
    let the children of Zion rejoice in
          their King.
Let them praise his name with
    making melody to him with
          tambourine and lyre.
                   Psalm 149:1-3

So what is on your list for today?

Is it filled with all those home improvement jobs you've been putting off for weeks, but now that the weather is blustery, it seems like a good day for them?  Are you going to be getting into the car, going from place to place, dashing from store to store marking off each gift as you purchase them?  Will you simply be the driver for the kids, as they first get to dance class, then off to athletic practices, and then to their friends' houses for a sleepover?  Our lists are endless this time of year, and even with a Saturday open before us, the hours are filled before we even pull ourselves out of bed.

Will you be doing any singing today?

I know you will hear lots of singing - in every store and each mall walkway, the sounds of the season will be blaring.  In the car, every radio station seems to be playing the same song no matter which one you turn to.  The runners, the walkers, the exercisers are all plugged into their mp3 players, letting Bono, Beyonce, Justin serenade them along their way.  But, will you be adding your voice to the chorus? 

Probably not, is my guess.  We're too busy, we're too overwhelmed, we're too stressed, we're too embarassed to sing out loud these days.  Even in our own homes, we rarely sing, do we?  Oh, maybe in the shower, but even there, we have a list going on in our minds, and we are in a rush to get going.

But in that tradition which predates our own, today is Sabbath.  Today is that one chance to rest, to relax, to set aside time for God, for family, for worship, for self.  Sabbath is the gift that the busy God gives to us in the midst of all our business.  Psalm 149 reminds us that this is the moment to sing, to praise God for this opportunity for renewal of spirits, of praise for the glory of creation, to worship God not just with our mouths, but with our hearts and souls.  It is the opportunity as one young Jewish writer said, to distinguish 'between minutes and hours not to regiment them but to set aside moments of holiness.

And in that tradition, on this day of Sabbath rest and joy, there is to be singing.  So, sing today:
   sing to your children of how they delight you;
   gather up all your love and sing to your partner;
   sing to God, not just those old familiar songs you love,
       but ones which you think God might enjoy!

Sing, sing, sing of the gift of Sabbath.

Who knows, maybe it will become a daily habit.

(c) 2011  Thom M. Shuman

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