Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Wednesday, October 22

Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy.
—Exodus 20:8

Not long ago I was asked to lead worship on the dementia ward of the local nursing home. Some of its residents missed home, and others could not remember home. Some could speak, others seemed to have words running through their minds, but could not find ways to share them. Some were fragile, others had strength of body but not of mind. They all had a story, they were all cared for with exquisite care, and when it came time to worship they all “did something.”

Worship always asks us to “do something.” We clear our minds of cluttered thoughts. We take time to read a Psalm. We find a quiet place, or we make plans to go to church. Mostly we are aware that there is something different about Sunday, and this difference asks us to “do something” on the day of rest. Keeping the Sabbath holy, it turns out, takes some doing.

I greeted a few of the residents in the hallway, and then took my banjo into the day room where I began playing. The notes drifted down the hallways, and slowly, ever so slowly, the residents began to assemble for worship. Those who could walk arrived first, and sat down at the table. And then those who could only walk with a walker, began to arrive.

As they came around the corner I saw the wheels of their walkers first, then their hands, and then their face. Each step took concerted effort. Their steps were purposeful, careful, and immensely beautiful.

They were “doing something” about worship. They were summoning all their strength, and all their determination to keep the Sabbath holy.

Agency is one of the Leading C auses of Life. Agency is our response to life. Agency is deciding to do something, and then doing it. Agency is keeping the Sabbath with hymns that have not been forgotten, honoring the time and place for worship.

The residents set an example for a world that sometimes is inclined to see them as a problem. They showed what we are to do as we find a space for God.

Gracious God, we may be clear of mind...but how easily we forget! Show us what we are to do as we keep the Sabbath, mindful that you are the God of life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.