(Pastor Fraser Venter)
“Remember—there’s nothing so difficult and no stronghold so impregnable that it can’t be broken down (and you built up) by Love.” – Catherine of Sienna
“Do you remember the 21st night of September?
love was changing the minds of pretenders
while chasing the clouds away, Our hearts were ringing,
In the key that our souls were singing.
as we danced in the night, remember how the stars stole the night away
Ba de ya – say do you remember, Ba de ya – dancing in September,
Ba de ya – never was a cloudy day”
September – Earth, Wind and Fire
You know you want to sing it out loud. Go ahead. Make a joyful noise and let nostalgia wash over you. Little did Earth, Wind and Fire know that they were creating memories for us by asking us to simply remember. Memories of wedding dance floors, karaoke, laughter and a lot of “ba de ya’s” (memory so good it doesn’t have words yet).
Do you know the story behind this song? Allee Willis was a struggling songwriter in LA – until when in 1978 she got a call from Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. Willis was given the offer of a lifetime, to co-write on the band’s upcoming album. When Willis arrived at the studio the next day she opened the door and they had just written the intro to ‘September.’ She thought, “Dear God, let this be what they want me to write! Cause it was obviously the happiest-sounding song in the world,” Willis says. Maurice also says something so profound about the opening line of “Do you remember?” Maurice says, “The question results in us supplying the memories. It’s a song that can bring all of the generations together, which makes it perfect for family gatherings. The true meaning is up to us.
The true meaning of remembering is up to us and to bring all the generations together! Funny where you can find great theologians these days! To remember is to rewind and to rewind is to Sabbath. Not just unwind but rewind.
As you are now aware through the Sabbath series, your bible contains two primary sources for the Ten Commandments. One list is found in Exodus 20:1–17 and a second list is found in Deuteronomy 5:6–21. However, even though the lists are the same in both places, some differences exist in the way they are described, especially when it comes to understanding the Sabbath. In Exodus, the Sabbath commandment focuses on God resting after creation on the seventh day: As I shared in the week of PAUSE about Sabbath and sacred modeling, it was an opportunity for the Israelites to imitate God in regards to the rhythm of creation and life.
In Deuteronomy, the focus is not so much on resting from creation but on understanding the remembrance of redemption. Sabbath was a time to remember God’s deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt. The ability to enjoy Sabbath is based on the foundation that God’s redemption gives the people an opportunity for Sacred space and time. As we fast forward to the gift of salvation, resulting in our redemption that Christ gives us, it is not a burden to bear in practicing Sabbath but a thankful remembrance that with Him we can.
Now go ahead and read these passages aloud which describe the 2 ideas of Sabbath.
“Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy” “The Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them in six days, but rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8,11)
“Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you”
“Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That’s why the Lord your God commands you to keep the Sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5:12,15)
Did you notice the verb that each of these passages begin with, to Remember! It seems obvious that God in His great wisdom is reminding us of the importance of remembering. Why? I believe it is because He wants to remind us of both His nature and His intention in order for us to model Sabbath in our daily lives. In addition to this the other verb found in Deuteronomy, Observe challenges us to obedience. Remembrance of His creative rest and redemption is our motivation and observing is our loving response of obedience.
Throughout scripture, to remember is to encourage the people to look back (rewind) to the continual faithfulness of His promises. To remember how God acted and spoke to those in ages past. And for us it is to view that which we are facing presently, in light of what He has already done. And for us to add this truth in faith and to apply it with a hopeful expectation. God does what He says and He says what He does. A Sabbath rewind allows me to stop and remember this important truth.
When we take time in the obedient moments of Sabbath to rewind and remember both His redemption and His creative rhythm of rest and work, we are saying to God that we trust in His salvation, provision and rest.
To remember is to rewind and to rewind is to Sabbath.
As we learn to stop, pause, and play in our Sabbath moments we now must add the fourth component of rewind. I think one of the greatest ways to rewind (remember) is to place ourselves humbly in His spoken Word. Paul the Apostle said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). So what does it mean to have Christ’s Word dwelling in us? I love how one author helps us to understand this idea,
If you have a favorite author or two, you enjoy reading their literary works. Sometimes you can’t get enough, so you search for everything they wrote, even their letters and biography, because these can often reveal important things about the personal life and thoughts of the author. But the people we know the best are those we live with and share our lives with on a personal, intimate level.
Eugene Peterson aptly quotes, “We don’t read the Bible to get God into our world but to get ourselves into his world.” And I would add, to remember how God speaks and acts in His world that we live in.
Also, remember when we read the words of Scripture it is not to mainly seek wisdom and inspiration for living a better life. A good motive indeed. But God wants his Word to not simply improve or reform us. He wants His Word to transform our every thought and action. Taking time in your Sabbath moments to rewind and remember His Words can help in this transformation.
Are you ready to remember and rewind in your Sabbath moments? Are you ready to create some ‘Ba de ya’ moments? You will find a whole new level of experience in your Sabbath when you rewind and remember.