Sunday, January 22, 2012

If You Call the Sabbath a Delight

When I was a young boy, Sunday was a bother.  There were certain things I wasn't allowed to do, and the day as a whole seemed a little stuffy.

Now it is often my favorite day of the week.  Sunday for me is the equivalent of sleeping in, watching cartoons and eating pancakes.  Here are a few things that have turned Sunday (technically not the Sabbath anyway--Saturday was) into a joy.

1. Personally, I like to follow the old Jewish method and start my Sabbath on Saturday evening, and end it on Sunday evening. By the end of Saturday I'm pretty exhausted, ready for a break from work.  By the evening of Sunday, I'm refreshed, starting to think about the week ahead, ready to accomplish a few things before Monday morning. 

2. A good tradition, unlike a bad one, can be exciting.  Jewish people often remember very fondly the process of the Mother lighting the Sabbath candles as the family came together to start the Shabbat.  For me, on Saturday evening sometimes I like to say a prayer of thanks for the week past, and eat some Sabbath ice cream. The ice cream is very important.  On Sunday evening, before I begin working again, I will sometimes listen or sing a hymn or two, then pray for the week to come, committing it to God.

3. I TRY not to have any hard and fast rules about what can and can't be done on a Sabbath. After all, the day was made for us, we were not made for the day.  Activities that are fun, rejuvenating are great. I try to avoid duties that I do the rest of the week.  Anything that feels like "you must do this" and there is an inward groan--you are free from that today!  Answering the long backpile of emails, cleaning the house, studying for that test, baking all those dishes for supper, finding receipts to do your taxes--GOD has given you a "get out of jail free" card from them for this one day a week.  And resist your flesh that whips at you and says "if you had been more responsible earlier in the week, you could take a day off, but now you have to work to catch up."  No. God's "get out of jail free" card trumps that. But notice the distinction. It's not saying you CAN'T clean the house and do your taxes. It's saying YOU ARE FREE NOT TO. If you are doing them out of a sense of misery and duty--God at least is not going to be clicking his tongue at you for not working on them today.

4. I like kicking back on a sofa, napping, reading some encouraging books on Sunday afternoon.  Watching football games all afternoon might be relaxing for a while, but spending some time with God, although a discipline, is far more refreshing.  Do you feel the balance?  Kicking back, letting your hair down, having fun playing Sorry with your family or reading a book in solitude--and resting you heart with a secret smile on God. 

1 comment:

  1. Recently I have felt very convicted to tell my boss that I can't/won't work on Sunday.
    One thought about Sunday that I hold to is that the Seventh day (which we will call Sunday even though it was Saturday)was a time where God stopped creating things and took up His place of authority and headship. He uses Sunday to remind us that He is in control of our lives and that we should obey Him, and that as part of His headship He provides everything that we need.
    In school I chose not to do homework/work on Sunday because it was an act of acknowledging God's provision and authority. And that was hard because I had a lot of stuff to keep up with.
    Now that I am out of school I have the pressure from my job to be available to work on Sunday, and the desire to provide for my family. But as an act of submission to God and acknowledging His provision in my life, I choose not to work on Sunday.
    Thanks for your post, it was an encouragement to keep on respecting Sunday as a day of rest.