Sunday, August 24, 2008

God's Glorious Sabbath

"Saturday is a special day.
It's the day we get ready for Sunday:
We clean the house, and we shop at the store,
So we won't have to work until Monday."

This song sung by the children of our church is not only clever, but catchy. It teaches us ways to "remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy."

This commandment, to keep the sabbath day holy, is the fourth of the Ten Commandments given to Moses by the Lord as recorded in the Old Testament. Although it is a well-known commandment across denominations, not everyone agrees on exactly how to keep it.

One challenge to keeping the Sabbath day holy is that, in contrast to the days when God's people lived the Law of Moses, today there are few hard and fast rules to be found about what constitutes good sabbath day activities. Sunday is a day dedicated to spiritual things, and I generally judge my activities based on whether it will detract from or add to the spirit and sacredness of the Lord's day.

Recently, my family has had to turn down invitations to birthday parties and a neighborhood picnic held on Sunday. The decision to miss our community picnic was difficult, because we enjoy socializing with neighbors and view this yearly event as a positive one. So, we decided to clarify for ourselves the meaning of keeping the sabbath holy and to come up with more specific guidelines to help us as we strive to honor the sabbath day.

Here is a list that I compiled, based on the words of church leaders...along with some great quotes and links that explain how Mormons understand and observe the sabbath day:

Good Sunday Activities: worship, take sacrament, go to church, fast/pray, serve God and man, repent, pay tithes, sacrifice our pursuits of the pleasures of the world, have a cheerful heart, study the gospel, visit the sick, sleep/rest, read wholesome materials, prepare on Saturday for Sunday, dress in a way that retains the spirit and sets you apart from a workday, listen to uplifting music, ponder spiritual things, visit quietly with family, do family history, write in a journal, build husband-wife relationships, read with a child, sing hymns, fellowship with neighbors, develop appreciation for cultural arts, give blessings, prepare meals simply, and strengthen family relationships

Activities to Avoid on Sunday: loafing, recreation, working unnecessarily, indulging in carnal appetites, doing nothing, playing vigorously or partaking of commercial entertainment, shopping, wasting time, playing sports, joy riding, studying schoolwork, visiting friends socially, reading material (or watching programming) that is not uplifting, doing odd jobs around house

Here are some great links to help you learn more about the origin, significance, and importance of observing the sabbath day:

Basics: The Sabbath Day

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

The Power of Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

The Blessing of Keeping the Sabbath Day

Teaching Children to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

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