Have you ever looked forward to a general conference because you were certain in your mind that the apostles were going to address some of the crazy issues that are taking place in the world? “There’s got to be some big announcement this time” we might say. “Maybe this is the year we’ll be asked to ‘flee to Zion,’” you might think. But then they talk about something like “Sabbath Day observance” and we tune out because “we’ve heard this all before”…right?
Over the last year, the world seems to be crumbling in every way imaginable…and yet all we seem to hear about is the Sabbath? I’ve been curious to know why.
As the Sabbath has been talked about with greater intensity, I’ve noticed quite a few people online say that they’re sick of hearing about it. For me personally…it’s generally the things I’m not doing so well with that I get sick of hearing about. “The guilty taketh the truth to be hard for it cutteth them to the very center.” I’ve been there…especially when it comes to the Sabbath.
The other reason people might get sick of hearing about the Sabbath is because of a lack of understanding. With that lack of understanding comes an associated lack of importance. If a person doesn’t truly understand the “why” of the sabbath, then it just becomes a day of guilt, confusion, and boredom.
It’s hard for the Sabbath day to become a “delight” when you never know if what you’re doing is right. (Did you like that rhyme?)
When I hear someone give their Sabbath Kumbayah stories about how everyone sits in a circle on Sunday and reads scriptures all day after singing hymns together, sometimes it feels hard to measure up. Honestly, it just doesn’t seem like reality.
Maybe I’m weird, and my thinking was off, but over the years, I’ve felt like all I could do on the Sabbath was eat, drink, sleep, read scriptures, pray, and go to church. This was because I was supposed to be “resting” from my labors and making the day “holy.”
It also seemed to me like the most prevalent description of Sabbath Day activities from others was that of “sleeping” or “napping” after church. But I hate sleeping during the day, so that just doesn’t work for me. If I sleep all day Sunday…I feel horrible. It ruins my sleep pattern and I can’t go to sleep Sunday night, making Monday morning dreadful, setting me up for a brutal work week. I feel much better if I go for a walk or a hike outside in the sun/wind/rain anything that involves nature.
But am I breaking the Sabbath?
Am I making the day less holy by taking a hike instead of being conked out on the couch all day “resting?” Some might say that I am.
For me personally, I’ve spent many a Sunday after church in my parents backyard shooting baskets with my dad before dinner with the family. My mom would come outside and talk some trash to my dad when he missed his shots or just to jump into the conversation. It was so much fun and I always looked forward to those times. We might play horse…or around the world, or just stand there holding the ball under our arm for hours. We’d sit as a family in our backyard chairs talking about things we never had time to talk about during the week. During the week, we were too busy with our own things. My parents were working, I was playing on multiple sports teams and hanging out with friends. Honestly…I feel like the work week separated us. Every day takes us further away from each other. The Sabbath brings us back together. And it can be “delightful” if done in the right spirit.
This may seem sacrilegious to ask…but would I be a better person today, or have a better relationship with my mom or dad if they left me by myself and were inside on the recliner sleeping or reading their scriptures all day? I mean…no one would ever fault them for “reading scriptures all day” would they? But surely people would fault them for bouncing that ball or firing up the BBQ outside…while not in their church clothes.
Fast forward 20 years and I have kids of my own that are shaping their own perceptions of the Sabbath.
Continue reading this article on Greg Trimble’s blog.