As is stated in the introduction, our Christian faith is a pilgrim faith. The author shows in modern parables how we are called by Christ to be a people on the move with him through time to eternity and the kingdom of God. He shows that we are travelers on the road of faith, never quite arriving at our destination, but always growing and being transformed by each encounter with the living God.
Following each sermon is a set of discussion questions based on the preceding sermon and the scripture on which the sermon is based. These questions can be copied into the bulletin to help the congregation follow the sermon, used as small group discussion starters, distributed to worshipers as they leave church or be printed in weekly newsletters to reinforce the message given the previous Sunday.
Robert Beringer, along with serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Metuchen, New Jersey, is a Visiting Lecturer in Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from Cornell and Princeton Universities. Previous books by Beringer include "The Easter People"; "Something's Coming, Something Great"; and "Batteries Not Included."
According to Dawn, the phrase going to church both reveals and promotes bad theology: it suggests that the church is a static place when in fact the church is the people of God. The regular gathering together of God s people for worship is important—it enables them to be church in the world—but the act of worship is only a small part of observing the Sabbath.
This refreshing book invites the reader to experience the wholeness and joy that come from observing God s order for life—a rhythm of working six days and setting apart one day for rest, worship, festivity, and relationships. Dawn develops a four-part pattern for keeping the Sabbath: (1)ceasing—not only from work but also from productivity, anxiety, worry, possessiveness, and so on; (2) resting— of the body as well as the mind, emotions, and spirit—a wholistic rest; (3) embracing—deliberately taking hold of Christian values, of our calling in life, of the wholeness God offers us; (4) feasting—celebrating God and his goodness in individual and corporate worship as well as feasting with beauty, music, food, affection, and social interaction.
Combining sound biblical theology and research into Jewish traditions with many practical suggestions, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly offers a healthy balance between head and heart: the book shows how theological insights can undergird daily life and practice, and it gives the reader both motivation and methods for enjoying a special holy day.
Dawn s work— unpretentiously eloquent, refreshingly personal in tone, and rich with inspiring example—promotes the discipline of Sabbath-keeping not as a legalistic duty but as the way to freedom, delight, and joy. Christians and Jews, pastors and laypeople, individuals and small groups—all will benefit greatly from reading and discussing the book and putting its ideas into practice.
For the most part Christians regard the Old (or First) Testament as pre-history, a preparation for, or a promise of the New Testament and its proclamation of Christ. This is especially true during Advent, when the Christian liturgy directs our attention to the promise and its fulfillment. Yet Advent's status as the beginning of the Church year - as a turning point - calls us to look back in order to move forward. We read intensively from Old Testament prophecy texts with a special view toward their future meaning. Hence, Advent is the time of the year when Christians are reminded that they have one sacred Scripture in two parts, one Bible composed of the Old and New Testaments.
Since it was with the aid of the Old Testament that the early Church interpreted the event at Bethlehem, many of the images and biblical texts associated with Christmas can only be understood by following their Old Testament roots. Like the Magi who followed the star, we can, with Dohmen's help, follow in the liturgy of Advent and Christmas the traces that lead us into the Old Testament. Following those traces, we can arrive at a Christmas that appears to us in a new light, that of the Old Testament.
Chapters are In Search of Traces," "It al Began Before Christmas," "Addressed and Claimed," "A Gift from Heaven," "When Shepherds Become Prophets, "You Shall Make No Crib for Yourself!" "Joseph, What Are You Dreaming?" "A New Age Is Beginning," "In Order That Might Be Fulfilled . . . ," "In Our Midst," "Yad Vashem," "You, Bethlehem . . . ," and "Following the Trace."
Christoph Dohmen is professor of Old Testament Exegesis at the University of Osnabruck."