September 16, 2016
In December 2013 Steve Shive had a dream.
Shive, general presbyter of the Presbytery of Wyoming, says that in the dream, he felt a strong sense to create a place where God’s people could come together to work on spiritual practices. “I saw our teaching and ruling elders coming together to learn from each other,” he says, “and to engage in the presence of their lives in Christ in community.”
That dream came to fruition recently when the newly formed organization called the Sabbath Center, in Casper, Wyoming, hosted its first event. Nine participants immersed themselves in a program titled “Sabbath as Practice: Listening for the Heartbeat of God.”
The event focused on three questions:
- What is Sabbath in the Christian story?
- Why bother to practice it?
- How does Sabbath feed faith and spirituality?
The facilitator for the event was Libby Tedder Hugus, pastor of a new worshiping community, the Table. When Shive envisioned the Sabbath Center—and its obvious focus on the Sabbath—he thought of Tedder Hugus. Shive knew of Tedder Hugus’s spiritual practices around Sabbath, and also remembered a conversation they’d had with the Presbytery of Wyoming’s new church development committee about the topic of rest.During morning prayer with the committee, Shive read from Psalm 127:2: “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for God gives sleep to God’s beloved,” and then asked for reflection from those around the table.
Tedder Hugus listened carefully to others reflecting around the table. When it was her turn to speak, she said, “I’m so struck by the contrast of ‘eating anxious bread” and ‘God giving rest to his beloved.’ So often I have my nose down, thinking I’m doing the work of the Lord when it’s not anything close to it.”
She said it reminded her of a quote from St. Teresa of Avila that “love turns work into rest.”
“How do we make that connection between work on behalf of God, and as a matter of love and rest?” she asked. “Because God wants to give that to us, as God’s beloved.”
For now, Shive says, Sabbath Center plans to meet in multiple places around Wyoming. “We wouldn’t complain if someone wanted to give us a permanent location,” he says, “but for now there are plenty of beautiful natural spaces in Wyoming that we can use.”
Paul Seebeck, Mission Communications Strategist
Today’s Focus: Presbytery of Wyoming
Let us join in prayer for:
Joe Norris, Moderator
Eric Wedell, Moderator of Council
Mark Owens, Stated Clerk
Caroline Carver, Treasurer
Steve Shive, General Presbyter
Alayne Stevens, Administrative Assistant
Richard Turner, E-Mail Communications Facilitator
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Alex Downs, PMA
Richard DuBose, PMA
Let us pray
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the example of your Son, Jesus, and his desire to reach out to help those in need. Help us to recognize our own opportunities to spread the love of Christ as your ambassadors. Amen.
Morning Psalms 130; 148
First Reading Esther 1:1-4, 10-19
Second Reading Acts 17:1-15
Gospel Reading John 12:36b-43
Evening Psalms 32; 139