The Sabbath

What does the Bloggernacle do on the Sabbath? Well, right now, I’m blogging, but it’s "religious" blogging so it’s kosher, right? Right?

I have two simple rules for the Sabbath day:

1. "On the seventh day God RESTED." The Sabbath is a day of rest. As far as I can tell, God rested from ALL his labours on the Sabbath. I imagine Him taking a day off in the mountains. I’m not sure whether he went to evening meetings, or wrote to the missionaries. There’s plenty of time for that. He RESTED. Did I say "rest?" One more time: the Sabbath is a day of REST. So REST! God did.

(How many times have people told me that Sunday is the most stressful day of the week. That’s all wrong folks. One major problem: after three hours or more at church, many Mormon women come home to cook the biggest meal of the week. If you like this, fine, but if you don’t, there’s nothing wrong with baked beans on toast on Sundays. Learn from the Jews who do all their cooking BEFORE the Sabbath.)

2. Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." The Pharisees had their huge list of Sabbath do’s and don’ts. So do many Mormons. It’s really simple. Ask yourself, "Is this spiritually beneficial FOR ME?" If it is, do it and don’t feel guilty.

So, I want to know the Bloggernacle’s view on the Sabbath, your philosophy on "keeping the Sabbath day holy." Of course, the problem with spelling out your own Sabbath activities is that you can easily end up making people feel guilty. Maybe you prefer that all your kids stay in their Sunday clothes. I don’t, but it’s easy to feel that maybe I’m doing something wrong for putting the kids and jeans and going for a nice, relaxing stroll in the country when faced with your piety.

Anyway, if it’s rest, and it’s to my spiritual benefit, it’s worthy of the Sabbath. Those are my Sabbath principles. What are yours?


  1. Funny thing. Just as you were writing this, I was standing in the campus chapel (a gorgeous old grey-stone chapel, built in the early 1800s, and in which many a young man spent mandatory hours back when the college was affiliated with the Congregational Church), rehearsing Handel’s Israel in Egypt for a concert next week, and wondering if my Sundays were appropriately spent.

    I do a lot of homework on Sunday. It’s not a day of rest for me. I can’t afford for it to be — there’s simply too much work. But I do take 3 hours out of my morning to attend church, and 3 hours out of my evening to sing with a chorus that performs religious pieces like this — we’ve done Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and now we’re singing Israel in Egypt.

    I confess, I often feel more like I’m spending my Sabbath appropriately when I’m singing these pieces, especially the more worshipful parts — “The Lord God shall reign forever and ever,” and so forth — than I do when I’m sitting through Sunday School.

  2. Your singing in a choir sounds wonderfully appropriate, Arwyn.

  3. Jordan Fowles says:

    Maybe you prefer that all your kids stay in their Sunday clothes. I don’t, but it’s easy to feel that maybe I’m doing something wrong for putting the kids and jeans and going for a nice, relaxing stroll in the country when faced with your piety

    Maybe if people prefer this, they have a lot of money to pay for more Sunday clothes when the Sunday clothes wear our from being worn too much. Such behavior is not pious, it’s just stupid and economically unsound.

    Strolls in the country aren’t much better, though. Highly overrated. Kids get dirty, and the “great outdoors” is not so great.

    My idea of honoring the Sabbath is to try my hardest to keep my sanity intact while sitting with three hyper children through Sacrament meeting, dealing with 12 more teaching Sunday School, then going home to face the kids hyperness for the rest of the day. Although the Sabbath should be a “delight” I count it as a benefit if it’s not a “horror.”

  4. Arwyn, good on you for singing on Sunday. In college I spent literally ALL of Sunday in church services or choir rehearsals. I should have done more school work, but I’ve never been sorry that I didn’t. (And I love “Israel in Egypt;” I always put it on my list of classical pieces for non-classical geeks–the frogs and the flies are just so cool. And “The Lord is a Man of War”! *That* is why God invented the larynx!!)

  5. Jordan Fowles says:

    Glad you can find time to sing with kids around.

  6. If you’re talking to me, Jordan, I don’t — I don’t have kids. When I do, my schedule will likely be quite different. But I plan to find time to sing, still, even if it’s just numerous renditions of “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “Little Bunny Foo-Foo,” which I think are somewhat less Sabbath-appropriate than Handel. ;)

    Then again, I have to wonder if singing about God killing lots of people is Sabbath appropriate, either — if we’re considering that. The music is wonderful, though — I adore it too, Kristine.

  7. Jordan Fowles says:

    Count your lucky stars, Arwyn. Once you do, any joy in the Sabbath or any other activity will be sucked right out and replaced with stress, anxiety, and despair.

  8. We are kinda half-sabbath observers. By that I mean that we try to slow it down on Sundays, we made a concious decision a few years back to not shop or buy on sundays, and a few other similar things, but once we get home from church, we tend to lose sight of the spiritual nature of the day. We clean the house a bit, “Law and Order” reruns come one, etc…

    We have, however, evolved some cool sabbath traditions. One is that dad (me) will often make his secret recipe chocolate chip cookies. We often even get around to baking some of them before the dough is all eaten. That becomes a cool family thing as Brendon and Jacob help out.


  9. I’m sorry the Sabbath is so trying for you, Jordan. I know it’s rough with kids.

    But Ronan asked what our Sabbath principles are, and mine are pretty much akin to his: if it’s for my spiritual benefit — or the spiritual benefit of those around me — it’s kosher for the Sabbath.

    And in my present situation, the chorus is something that counts as spiritual benefit. I’ll look forward to the stress, anxiety, and despair later. There’s plenty of time for that. I’ve got dead Egyptians to sing about for now. ;)

  10. a-nonny-non says:

    I like to watch baseball and football (in that order) on Sunday. I like to surf the net on Sundays. I find those things very restful. I try not to do them at the expense of time spent with my family, however. I try, but I don’t always succeed.

  11. My family would often take a drive into the mountains for a picnic, maybe even build a fire for the roasting of marshmallows. I think my present roommate looks down upon our activities as she frowned when I related the small wilderness hike I took with my sister and nieces last Sunday. That and the comments after changing my clothes after church.
    Sometimes we would hardly see my father all week, so the one opportunity we have to be together as a family we spend couped up in the house driving each other crazy? I don’t think so. And a pleasant excursion can do wonders for hyper active kids needing an energy release after three hours of hopelessly trying to be reverent.
    My grandfather gives me all sorts of advice in regards to finding my future spouse (ie: for my sake let him be taller than me, for grandpa’s sake let him have a tolerable personality.)The only serious advice he has given me has been to watch the way he treats the sabbath. What it means to him. Not in the manner of strick obedience to non-doctrinal advocated rules and activities, but what the sabbath MEANS to him. I think their is a difference.
    I have taken a lot of flack over the fact that my family spends some weekends at my grandfather’s cabin, and we hold our own meeting of sorts. We sing hymns out of a collection of old hym books with a ward and stake’s name stamped on the cover (rest assured that they were not stolen), my grandpa shares some words of wisdom (he has lots) we read from the scriptures and discuss doctrinal topics. We have even taken the sacrament, which I have been told is outright apostasy, but my temple president grandfather assures me it is not. I am aware that this does not take the place of church attendance and calling fullfillment, but some of my fondest memories concerning the spirit and my family have taken place on the seemingly appropriately named Mt. Kolob.

  12. You poacher of a husband!! This was to be my next discussion on FMH! Anyway, I contemplated this after a Sacrament Meeting talk last week. On Sunday afternoons, I sleep. I put my 21 month old for a nap, the 3 month old is usually sleeping too, and the 5 year old gets to watch the ‘Prince of Egypt’ or something, and I get the only nap time in the week I can. I’m massively sleep deprived with a newborn and take advantage of having no obligations. However, I do enjoy when we sometimes on a nice day go for a stroll. What better place to worship, than to enjoy nature.

  13. Perhaps there’s somewhat of an answer in not only that God was resting, but what he was resting from. Six days of his week he was creating the universe. On the seventh day he rested from creating things.

  14. 2. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

    Seems to me that the Sabath was made for meetings. I have >6 hrs worth and I feel like I’m getting off easy compared to some I know.

    Seriously though, when I was single, I used to have quite the little devotion going one. No media, lots of friends, food, and walks in the forest…

    After mairrage things were pretty good, the traditional Sunday dinner was Frozen pizza – what is more in tune with the point of the Sabath?

    Then we had kids…

    We do have regular Sunday dinner with my brother’s family, and that is nice.

  15. Rough day with the little ones, eh Jordan?

    If I can go to church and avoid having to answer a message from one of my demanding bosses on my Blackberry, I consider the Sabbath Day a success. With three little ones at home, I am with Jordan. Just get me through the day without the constant temptation to shout “Raca!” at my six-year-old and that will be rest enough for me.

  16. I too also am there with Jordan – see my post ‘Why Bother?’ on FMH. Sunday meeetings are made very hard with the length of meetings for little kids.

  17. HL Rogers says:

    I have to say Jordan’s pessimistic view on a range of subjects recently has been very fun to read. It makes me feel like I’m watching old Hunter reruns from the 80s (Hunter has always been my favorite pessimist).

  18. Wow. A few snarky comments here and there over the last few months and now I’m a pessimist.

    Personally, I thought my comments about dealing with a house full of kids on the Sabbath was a pretty optimistic assessment compared to how it really is.

  19. HL Rogers says:

    Well, it was meant as a compliment, if that is any consolation.

  20. Chad Too says:

    I spent yesterday being out of the house from 9:30am to 9:45pm with all the tasks I had to do as a Bishop’s counselor. The only break was from 6pm (when I ate the lunch I made before leaving home that morning) until 6:15 when I had to leave the Church in order to participate in Bishop’s Youth Discussion. The Bishop’s day started at 7:30am with interviews, so I suppose I at least got to sleep in a bit.

    Tonight was FHE, tomorrow I’ve got splits with the Elders, Wednesday is YM/YW, Thursday is Pack Meeting (I have a Bobcat). Friday-into-Saturday is a Troop campout leaving just enough time in the day for a few errands and then it will be Sunday again.

    When, exactly, do I get to rest?!?!?

  21. My goodness, Chad – your poor wife! Time to set some boundaries…

  22. Thank you, Sue. I must admit this week is busier than most, but not by much.

    I forgot to add that on the previous Saturday the Bishopric and wives headed up a temple bus trip: in 12:30pm, home 9pm.

    As to my ever-patient sweetheart, she tells me she misses me, but boy can she get a lot of things done in the house when I’m not underfoo… I mean around. ;-)

    Overscheduling is definitely a problem, but what do I drop? I’m not setting a good example as a leader if I ask the other MP holders to go out on splits and then not do so myself. The stake just moved most of the handling of welfare needs to the MP and RS so that the Bishopric can redouble our focus on the YM/YW. Pack meeting is at least family time. I’m considering asking the Scoutmaster if I’m reeeeeally needed this weekend because if not, I may beg off this Friday/Saturday.

    I’m a full-time student, full-time dad, and full-time employee as well!

  23. Chad Too: You and I have the same calling. Maybe I am lazy, but I don’t agree that you have to set a good example by going out on splits or participating in certain church sponsored activities. You could just as easily make the argument that you are setting a bad example by not spending more time at home. In fact, I think that is the better argument. There is no reason that Bishopric members have to be seen to be doing everything and a few good reasons why they should not. Do the things that only you can do (and missionary splits is not one of those things, in my opinion), and let others do what they can do. Two jobs that only you can do are to be a husband and a father. Those responsibilities should get the best part of you, and not just the part that is left over after you do what everybody else wants you to do. And yes, I am a hypocrite.

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