Sabbath Is More than the Absence of Work
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:11
For many people today, busyness symbolizes our legitimacy. We talk about being busy, "in a hurry", "pressed for time" – the unspoken implication being that: we are very important, in demand. Our life matters.
Conversely, if we have “nothing to do”, well, to some it sounds like we have no ambition, or vision. It may sound like we are lazy or missing our opportunity.
Sabbath rest did not begin with Moses and the Ten Commandments, but dates all the way back to the days of creation. In creating all that is, God models for us the gift and the glory of work, and entrusts the man to work the Garden of Eden and take care of it (Genesis 2:15). Before sin entered human experience, God had meaningful work for man to do. Work is a gift from God, a gift that develops Godly character. God also modeled for us rest from our labors on the seventh day. The principle is one day out of seven is to rest, as we read Ex 20:9, "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God."
Our Sabbath rest is not simply a day to "goof off". Rather "the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God" – time with God – to be still in His presence, to pray, to be in His Word, to worship.
Some of us have jobs that require daily labor: cows still need milked, diapers need changed – whether on infants or our most senior residents, emergencies need to be tended to by police, firefighters, nurses, doctors, EMTs. Keeping Sabbath is more than the absence of work; it is also the presence of worship. Resting in the Lord every seventh day is one way we keep our lives attuned with our Creator.
We work because we are made in the image of a working God. But we are also called to rest because we are made in the image of a resting God. Remember, God gives these commandments to recently freed slaves. For 400 years – 10 generations – all they knew was slavery. Slaves never rest. Pharaoh had big plans that required massive numbers of bricks. Pharaoh needed Israel’s slave labor force. So Israel never rested. Enslaved people can’t rest. One of the evidences that we are God’s freed people is that we do rest – every seventh day.
When we protest, “I can’t rest! You don’t know what my life is like!” we are unwittingly admitting that we can’t rest because our true masters won’t let us: Our boss needs us to make quota. Our pride needs us to excel and advance. Is there a restlessness that stirs within us whenever we unplug or step away from our 24/7 multitasking? It’s worth pondering what is at the root of our inability to accept God’s gift of Sabbath rest.
Our idols need us to feed them, to be bound to them – work harder, to not let up… In contrast, God doesn’t need us. He wants us. God did not create because He was lonely or needed to prove Himself – God, by His very nature, doesn’t need anything. God is love – God desires to bless you, to know you, to share with you the joy and abundance of life He has for you – for each of His beloved children. Andrew Kyvenhoven says, “God did not 'rest' on the seventh day because He was tired. He [stopped working] and entered into the enjoyment of what He had made. His rest means enjoying creation. When we share in that rest, we enter into the enjoyment of God and His creation. The Sabbath – that’s paradise, to rest means to live in paradise, with the Creator in His creation.”
Resting In Christ,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Consistory OKs Signup Calendar for Offering Ushers
St. John’s Consistory did not meet in August. However, the board did approve congregational help for offering ushers, beginning in September. There will be a sign-up calendar in the back for anyone who agrees to volunteer.
Grillmasters at the church picnic in August were (left to right)
Dick Clark, Steve Rodgers and Joel Ritchey. They brought
their own equipment to grill burgers and dogs in abundance.
Sizeable Crowd for Church Picnic
A large number of parishioners turned out for the church picnic on Aug. 7.
After worship the children had an abbreviated Sunday School. Meanwhile members of the Women’s Guild set up a serving line in the kitchen area while men carried out tables and chairs from the fellowship hall to the pavilion. Many folks brought side dishes and desserts to share, while the consistory provided the hamburgers and hotdogs, buns and drinks.
Fun and games were planned for the children after the meal while the adults had a chance to chat with one another before volunteers carried tables and chairs back into the fellowship hall and other volunteers cleaned up the kitchen area.
No one went home hungry.
Donate to Food Pantry
If you would like to make a monetary donation to the food pantry, please make out your check to NB Food Pantry and mail it to the treasurer, Janis Slick at 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695.
There will be no choir practice Sept. 14. Otherwise choir practices are held each Wednesday evenings at 6:30 sharp!
Pick up Our Daily Bread
Copies of Our Daily Bread for the months of September, October and November are available on the welcome table. If you have not already done so, pick one up. The daily devotional booklets are provided by the Women’s Guild.
Rains Stops For Guild Campfire: Plans Set for Ladies' Retreat and Harvest Home
God stopped the rain just in time for us to gather outside at Mava Cottle’s home on Thursday evening, Aug. 4, for the annual Women’s Guild campfire (men and kids included!) The rain did dampen the campfire, but the food was delicious and the fellowship sweet. Sixteen adults and children were in attendance.
Joann Stiffler shared several inspirational songs. The nearby mountains were topped with fog, resembling snow. All of nature, great food, beautiful music, and our gathering together revealed God’s glory and goodness. We missed you – yes you!
Bobbi Brumbaugh, wife of the pastor of the Altoona Restoration Church of God, spoke at our July 15th guild meeting. Bobbi is the instructor for the medical program at South Hills in Altoona. The theme for the summer tea was “Footprints in the Sand”. Bobbi intertwined scripture with the message that God does carry us when we are tired and weak. Twelve ladies and 3 children attended. Molly Shirk, Deb Bowser and Beverly Smith were July’s hostesses/program coordinator.
The Guild served two meals this summer. On July 28 the ladies prepared a roast beef dinner for the Cove Lions Club as they invited area Lions Clubs to share in their anniversary celebration. The Guild served a funeral meal for Nancy Detwiler on Aug. 9. The women’s guild thanks all who donated food, set up tables, and helped cook, serve and cleanup the meals. We were blessed to be a blessing as we worked together.
Registration forms are available on the welcome table (or see Barb Thomas) for the 16th 4Cs Allegheny Ladies Fellowship Fall Retreat. We will use the “Treasured” Bible study by Deb Burma throughout the Oct. 21/22 retreat at Sequanota Conference Center near Jennerstown. All ladies are urged to attend and to bring a friend who could use an affirmation of how valuable they all are to the One who loves and redeems us. Please pick up a registration form for more information.
St. John’s Harvest Home Service/Fellowship Meal is Oct. 16 at 10:45 a.m.. Carol Deremer will be the speaker. The women are in charge of the service. Please plan to bring guests and a covered dish for the meal.
The next fellowship is at 6:30 Friday evening, Sept. 16, at the church. Cindy Johnson and Barb Thomas are the hostesses, and Donna Smeltzer is in charge of the program. Please plan to attend – all ages welcome – as we gather in God’s presence to develop an understanding of church service, spiritual growth and sacrificial giving.
Prayer Chain Updated; 55 on Chain
Barb Thomas, contact person for St. John’s Reformed Church Prayer Chain, has updated the chain, listing 47 families/individuals to be contacted by e-mail, four by Facebook messenger and four by telephone.
Copies of the update have been placed on the welcome table for folks to pick up. Anyone who is not on the prayer chain but wishes to be added should contact Barb at 814-766-2507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case of an emergency, the group email members may be phoned. If anyone cannot reach Barb and do not want to leave a message due to the urgency of the prayer need, he/she should call Pastor Dave Meckley at 766-2500 or 282-9703. It is now necessary to use the area code, 814, before all telephone calls.
Prayer requests and updates may be given orally during the time for joys and concerns at the opening of worship each Sunday. It would be helpful if such request could be given in writing to Barb or Pastor Dave as well as announced orally.
Persons using the prayer chain should respect other’s time and privacy. While we know God cares about every situation, the main focus of the prayer chain is for serious and life-threatening prayer requests. Persons are asked to keep details brief and concise. To preserve privacy, please ask permission from family before passing on their information. “God answers prayer, but we must do our part,” said Barb.
“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” --James 5:15 & 16
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings from St. John’s
features Leah and Ryan Salyards
and sons of Osterburg
Ryan and I, Leah, met in sixth grade at Spring Cove Middle
School, though nearly two decades—and quite an adventure
—passed before we said, “I do.”
I, Leah, was born at Nason Hospital in 1991. My mother’s family has been in Morrison’s Cove for generations and, at one point, owned the Waterside Woolen Mill. You could say my roots here are quite deep.
Nonetheless, I was drawn to the city and lived in Virginia Beach, the DC metro area, Atlanta, and Northeast Florida before finally returning at the end of 2019.
During my years away, I worked for several non-profit organizations focused on higher education and, then, ministry.
While I lived in Florida, my son, Judah (3), was born of a prior marriage. When, several months later, that marriage ended unexpectedly, I came home in December of 2020 to raise my son with the support of my family.
By God’s grace, and by total surprise, Ryan and I reconnected through mutual friends and very quickly started dating in July of 2020. Five months later, on December 5, we were married on our farm.
Many of you know Ryan already, and you know, as I do, what a gift he is. Together we are raising our two boys, Judah and Gus (6), in a blended family that testifies to God’s ability to bring beauty from ashes.
We are part of Ryan’s family business, Jubilee Hilltop Ranch, which is a beef farm and butcher shop in Osterburg. We live on the farm, which is a far cry—and welcome change—from riding subway trains and sitting in traffic.
Our family has many pets, including a cat, a pudgy English bulldog, two rabbits, ten chickens, two parakeets, and an exotic porch pigeon. Surprisingly, there is no partridge in a pear tree. Yet.
I am thankful every day that our sons live an idyllic country childhood like we did, and I pray they look at the rolling pastures, golden twilights, statuesque cattle, and vivid wildflowers in full appreciation of the God who sang those gifts into existence for his glory and our pleasure. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.
Thank you for welcoming me, and our family, into this church community. We are glad to call Saint Johns “home.
In the August issue of Jottings there was a story by Carol (Hartman) Replogle about her memories of years as a youth and teenager living in St. John’s parsonage. She was the daughter of then pastor Rev. A.A. Hartman. The picture used with her story incorrectly said the couple was photographed while attending St. John’s for worship on their 50th wedding anniversary. It should have stated that they visited on their 62nd anniversary. They had been married there by Carol’s father.