Renew yourself in God’s sabbath time | Worship

By The Rev. Cynthia Espeseth, St. Hilda St. Patrick | Jul 02, 2014

Open the windows, check the oil, fill the gas tank – it is time to hit the open road!

Summer is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. Vacation, trips to the off-leash dog park, walking on the beach for an hour, barefoot. These are all the good things to refresh and renew our souls.

Staying inside on a nice day here is almost impossible! Summer must surely be the sabbath that God took after all the labors of creation.

At St. Hilda St. Patrick Episcopal church where I serve as priest, our summer attendance is highly variable, like in most places of worship. There is just something about wanting to take off on a lazy Sunday morning (or whatever your sabbath day might be).

The combination of summer, sun and Sunday makes time stretch into a laid-back, sabbath time. It is so easy to stay home and take a long, lazy morning.

There is an ancient Greek word that describes Sunday mornings for me called “kairos.” The ancient Greeks had two words for time: “chronos,” meaning linear time, and “kairos,” meaning a right or opportune moment.

Kairos is an indeterminate time in which everything happens. In church-speak, kairos is what we experience when we come together to pray and worship.

I think of summer Sundays as both sabbath and kairos, when we rest in the heart of God to renew our souls. Summer is a time when we aren’t so worried about programs or the busy-ness of running the church that seems so prevalent the rest of the year.

Instead, during the summer we seem more oriented towards resting in God, worshiping on God’s schedule. We come in gratitude, with hope, and because we just like praying and singing together. Praying, worshiping in sabbath/kairos time, practicing the hospitality of God.

If hospitality is the act of receiving, welcoming and greeting another person, then God’s hospitality is a relationship with us of unconditional invitation and welcome.

All are welcome, and every person is invited come and feast at God’s table of love, justice and mercy. There is nothing that any person must do to be welcomed into God’s arms of love – you are already there.

At St. Hilda St. Patrick, we worship in kairos time by practicing hospitality. Practice is the key word because we will never have it perfected. We strive to mirror God’s unconditional invitation, welcome and reception into unconditional love.

St. Paul encourages us by saying, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

So come experience God’s hospitality, you who have much faith and you who would like to have more; you who have been to church often and you who have not been for a long time; you who have tried to follow Jesus, and you who have failed.

It is Christ who invites us to meet him each Sunday, together in community and in prayer. Come eat and drink and be nourished by the hospitality of God, resting and being renewed by God’s sabbath time.

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