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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Keeping the Sabbath Day holy...how?

We are back from Lake Louise in Alberta Cananda...I think the most beautiful place God made. Seriously. It was heavenly.
Rusty and I enjoyed five days together (God bless my parents for keeping my four kids that long!) where we just talked, and relaxed, and it was amazing! We did a pretty awesome hike, that resulted in my severe shin splints, and crippled me for a few days. But nonetheless, it was awesome.
We had a few questions on our mind to discuss this trip. We have already been mulling over and discussing how to free up our schedules a little this semester. (Yes, when you live in a college town, even adult lives revolve around semesters.)
Like many of you, we're too busy. That's another post.
Another question we have and were asking of the Lord during this trip was 'How do we keep the Sabbath Day holy?'
Up to this point, I'm not sure it has been. I started feeling this conviction a while back, and was noticing our Sundays being just like any other day. Busy. Filled with chores and to-do lists, and groceries to fight for at HEB...(it's hard not to want to ram your cart into the hundreds of roommates standing in front of the yogurt, blocking you, saying "I don't know...what kind of yogurt do YOU like?" "I don't know...what about YOU?" MOVE OVER!) Oh yeah, and church. Like many of you, there are no days off during the week, and we homeschool, so the errand running and to-dos take over the weekend. We're very involved in church, so there are meetings and classes as well.
But what about the Sabbath? What about rest? What about the concept of a holy day, in addition to our commitment to corporate worship in our body of believers?
We are looking at scripture and trying to determine what that looks like for us.
Some might consider the concept of keeping the Sabbath as an Old Covenant/expired idea. (As part of the Law that we were set free from.) But it is included in the Ten Commandments, which are all still very applicable in our New Covenant! I don't think it's expired, though that's how we treat it.
Jesus spoke out against the legalism of keeping the Sabbath by the pious Jewish leaders. They reprimanded him for healing on the Sabbath, and feeding his disciples. As always, Jesus was about the heart, not the rules! I know he wants our right heart in this.
I don't think there are rules to be enforced for all of us in keeping the Sabbath.
So what is there?
We looked at this passage, Isaiah 58:13-14:
13 "Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day. Honor the LORD in everything you do, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly. If you do this, 14 the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and give you your full share of the inheritance I promised to Jacob, your ancestor. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

Keeping the Sabbath and not pursuing our own interests on this day should be our delight! We ought to look forward to our time of worship, rest, and reflection all week!
So this is what we've determined so far. In order to not "pursue our own interests", meaning our to-do list, chores, grocery shopping, errands, on Sunday, we need to shift things around in the week. We are trying to do a lot of shifting in our week anyway, and this is going to take forethought. It's going to take saying no to certain things. It's going to take commitment.
Secondly, as we are purposeful in doing this, we want to impress upon our children the spirit and delight of this commandment, and not rules or a bunch of "don'ts." Last week on the Sabbath, the kids and I watched one of my all-time favorite shows together, "Little House on the Prairie." The Ingalls...how I love them! And they kept the Sabbath Day holy! They were a God-loving, prairie-dress wearing, (tv) family! We decided that could be one of our new Sabbath traditions together. The kids LOVE that show too, which is a life long dream fulfilled for me! My husband has mocked it for so long, finally, someone in this house appreciates good, wholesome, cheesy, 70's tv with me!
One other little thing we decided was that I would not cook a huge meal on Sunday. I have done that some recently, because I wanted a special meal with us all here, but it eats up most of my day. So we decided our Sunday dinner is going to be BBQ sandwhiches. I just shred the chicken, and put in into the crockpot with a lot of BBQ sauce and a little soy sauce. Let it cook all day. My family loves this meal so much! So it's our new Sabbath, keeping it simple and holy meal!
I want our Sabbath Days to be marked with rest...togetherness...no rushing, no HEB, definitely no Wal-Mart! I want it to be a day that's different, because we've set it aside for the Lord. Yes, everyday is his, and everyday should be about worship. We're not missing that fact! But God said this day should be different, and that it was made to benefit us in that way (Mark 2:27) so we're going to aim for a real Sabbath these days.
What about y'all? Any thoughts, good ideas about this topic? I'd love to hear them!


The Kramer Family said...

Great post Jenn!

We have recently adopted some of this also. We noticed our Sabbath looking extremely busy (which had a lot to do with us driving back and forth to College Station) and was full of frustrations.

Now, our Sabbath is a day full of rest. Since we go to early service at our church in Brenham, we usually don't have time to eat breakfast (and they serve donuts up at church:), so we get home and cook breakfast for lunch (easy) every Sunday, take a nap, and spend time together. I am so thankful for Sundays for Jason because I know how hard he works during the week. Its nice to see him taking a nap on Sunday.

It has seriously become our favorite day in our home. We look forward to it because we know that it is a low-maintenance restful day where to focus is on worshiping and resting.

And as a mom, its helped me so much in being able to just know that I don't have to come home and gourmet cook or worry about where we are going or what we are doing that day.

We do like to invite a family over to our house Sunday evening for fellowship and dinner since we are trying to get to know people in our church. But, again. Jason has been so gracious and lets me order pizza because its super easy and I can focus on the people.

Good topic! I'm so glad you had a great trip. Canada has been a dream place for me to go to someday. I want to go there ever more now!


Tricia said...

Hi, my name is Tricia. I found your blog - well through several different people that I went to church with when I was in high school. Tamra Perkinson, Ashley McWhorter, and Liz. I have been reading your blog for awhile now and just thought I would let you know how much I love reading it. You always have something that gets me thinking and this topic is no different. I want our Sunday to be all about God and family too! I love the BBQ idea - my kids would love that - and so would I! Little House on the Prairie is a favorite here too - and my husband also makes fun of it on occasion - but I think he secretly enjoys it because I have caught him watching more than once! Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and thanks for the great ideas!!


Emily said...

I have no advice to post except definitely no walmart. It kinda stresses me out just thinking about it:).

I will say it has been easier to do less since we moved here. We go to church on Sunday but spend the rest of the day hanging out together as are church doesn't have other activities on Sundays and I have no papers to write or anything:) (Whoop!)I also think Sundays are a great day to bond with other believers over lunch or the afternoon. I dont' usually make a big meal but have thought about it often. YOur right that is work...but people bond so well over food. Maybe that is just the pregnant me coming out:) YOur bbq chicken sounds like a great idea. Do you just take a whole chicken and take the meat or use filets or what? (remember I am scared of whole chickens)

Maybe if ya'll move to ABQ things would slow down a bit and it would be easier. Things just are slower here. In a college town there are always 100 things to do, socially or ministry-wise. Not that there isn't as much of a need for ministry...but he pace of life is different. I think it would give ya'll a new perspective. COME COME COME!

PS. I really want to see Treston with dreads! THat will make my heart happy!


PSS. Excpect a phone call today, big news coming...

The Crawfords said...

Wow Jen that is great! Andrew and I have recently gone through this same discussion. Our church did a series on the 10 commandments and it really opened our eyes. After church we always had a long list of things to do.

Meet with family to eat
Grocery Shop
Work in the Yard
Catch up on grading papers

By Sunday night we were as tired as we were any other night. We also realized that we were not just spending time together, as a couple, relaxing and worshiping the Lord.

Andrew now works in the yard in the evenings while it is still light, or early Saturday morning. I get my shopping done throughout the week.

It has been great to have quality time with Andrew for a full day, reflecting on the week and thinking about where the Lord wants us for the week to come. We need rest... rest in the Lord!

I love this post, and I love that we have learned this before the baby comes! ;)

texasinafrica said...

A really helpful book for me on learning to keep the Sabbath was Marva Dawn's Keeping the Sabbath Wholly: Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, Feasting. She does a really good job of explaining how it's not about legalism, but about God's provision for our need for rest and getting away from the consumerist mentality of our society.

When I started trying to be serious about keeping the Sabbath a few years ago, much to my surprise, I found that it was a lot easier to get everything done during the week when I knew that time would be set aside for not working, cleaning, shopping, etc.

Hope Road said...

I just got back from Israel and i think there are some things that we can learn from the jews about sabbath (they call it shabbat) They don't go to work, they don't really drive (i have never seen a city look so empty before) they don't cook, the only stores that are open are those of non-jewish (arab) owners and workers they even have Shabbat (they even have elevators called Shabbat elevators that stop on every floor because pushing an elevator button is considered work). We flew into Tel Aviv on Shabbat, and there was nothing open, we couldn't exchange our money becuase the exchange stores were closed. And for a bit of church history, the Sabbath is actually on saturday ( and the days are measured from sunset to sunset) a couple centuries after christ died the Catholic church decided that since christ was raised from the dead on a sunday that should be the new sabbath (they changed it from a saturday to a sunday) (the reason the centuries wanted Jesus dead that friday is that you should bury someone the day they died unless they die on the sabbath according to the jewish law)