The Ernie Project, Day One – January 5th, 2o16
From mid 1985 to around 1991 or so, my father, Ernie Richter, the Pastor of Grace Community Church of San Dieguito, (a church once located in Encinitas, California but now closed) wrote a “Hello from the Pastor” for each Sunday’s church bulletin. The subjects of his “Hellos” had to do with the season and his sermons but each one was also written to stand on its own, telling an added point or giving an additional insight or lesson to what was being taught but one did not have to hear his sermon to understand or benefit from the notes. Many people told me after dad passed away that they had kept many of (and in one case, my Aunt, his sister, kept all) the “hellos” from the church bulletins that he wrote. I even, still, have some that I keep in my box of treasures – the point is, there are wonderful stories and lessons in these notes that should be shared afresh with those who have an interest. First and foremost, me!-
He kept his copy of all the “Hello from the Pastor” pieces that he wrote, even after he retired in 2000 from the ministry, in three binders, binders that I inherited when he died in 2012.
Those binders have knocked around my home these last few years because life was hard in the wake of his death, and they were relegated to a drawer in an unused desk, and I have just now rediscovered them. It is a shame that they haven’t been well cared for, my fault entirely, and I am rectifying that now with this Ernie Project.
I love the binders, and I really love the writings that are inside them, and I’m guessing others who knew him or know of him will love them too. My dad was a wonderful communicator, a gifted theologian and excellent writer so I have decided to transcribe them one HFTP (Hello from the Pastor) at a time every day(ish), and regularly blog them throughout this year, trying whenever possible to be appropriate to the season. I have no idea how many there are, I haven’t counted, but I’m guessing there are over 200, maybe even enough to fill a year -becoming a daily devotional of sorts.
He, himself, organized the HFTPs by putting them into the binders more by subject and season than by chronology. I am going to try and follow suit. I notice that He thoughtfully handwrote the date each note was published in a bulletin at the top of each one in the binders, otherwise I would have had no idea. Thanks Dad!
Fair warning- I am going to annotate his “Hellos”. After all, it is *my* blog.
Hello from the Pastor! (By Reverend Ernest Richter)
Keeping The Sabbath. (Transcribed by Karen England on a Sunday in January 2016. Seems fitting…)
You can’t stay awake forever. Nobody can. Not even the most rambunctious child. Everyone sleeps eventually. Thank God! That’s the way God made us. He has decreed that we take a daily sabbath. To insure this he put a biological clock inside us that ticks off sixteen hours of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, wide-awake time, followed by eight hours of sleepy-bye time. There are minor variations to this general scheme, but you will find that it holds for most people. One third of every twenty four hours is given to rest. A daily sabbath.
Science is intrigued by this phenomena. They don’t understand it. They can’t find any biological or physiological reason for sleep. There is no clue in our cells. We just do it. And if we don’t we suffer for it. Prolonged sleep loss can cause all the symptoms of paranoia. But just as certainly restored sleep can remove all those symptoms. Indeed, for some mental conditions they find that sleep therapy is the cure. All that’s needed is a little sabbath.
That’s why we sleep. We need rest. It’s that simple. Sleep equals rest, and rest is so important that God has decreed that it shall be met on a daily basis.
But that’s not all. God has also decreed that we rest on a weekly basis. That’s what the Sabbath is all about. It is a day of rest. One in seven. The Bible doesn’t outline exactly how you should spend your Sabbath, but it is clear that you must take a Sabbath. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh is a Sabbath to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 5:13).
It’s possible to ignore this command. You can work seven days for weeks on end if you want. But you won’t do it for long. Eventually you will rest. The doctor will call it nervous collapse but it will really only be that you are finally keeping the Sabbath. (-The End)