12 April 2008

Sunday, Sunday

Today I had the IMMENSE pleasure of getting my promised hug from CW in person! (It was great, by the way.) As she, her sister (who came over from Coeur d' Alene, ID) and I sat under the Space Needle on the lush, green grass, enjoying the 70 degree loveliness, we pondered on all sorts of life oddities. One particular subject was that of Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy (and how everybody has their interpretation of that commandment; some more strict than others). This reminded me of a change I'm making in my family this week. See, we're used to not shopping, going to restaurants or participating in rigorous outdoor activities (sports and yard work) on Sundays. Instead we attend church, use our talents for the Lord (sing in the choir or teach Sunday School, for example), spend time with family and friends, write letters to family (Ben's brothers are serving two year missions for the church out of the country and really enjoy hearing news from back home), journal (would blogging count?) and rest from our labors (don't work). But we still watch TV, play video games and spend time on the computer/internet. Those are the things that have been bothering me lately, because I'm thinking that we can eliminate them for ONE DAY out of the week and find other wholesome things to take their place. I'm not saying that anyone that does those things is sinning or not Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy (don't take this post as some high-and-mighty soapbox, this is a personal reflection and not a judgement), I'm just thinking that our family would feel more of the Spirit in our home without those distractions. If anything, wouldn't it be worth a try? Couldn't hurt, right? Here's an article I found about the subject by Earl C. Tingey... The Lord counseled the Church more than 165 years ago that we can keep ourselves “unspotted from the world” by properly observing the Sabbath day. While others may watch how we observe the Sabbath day, we should not be self-righteous or attempt to elevate ourselves in the eyes of others (see Matt. 6:1–6, 16–18). We should simply keep the Sabbath day holy because it is what the Lord would have us do. Then we will receive joy and strength from doing so. The Lord teaches us in Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–13 that Sunday is a day to: • Rest. • Worship. • Offer up vows in righteousness. • Confess our sins. • Partake of the sacrament. • Prepare food with singleness of heart. • Perfect our fasting. Additionally, President Spencer W. Kimball said the Sabbath can be used for: • Reading good books. • Contemplating. • Studying the scriptures and preparing talks. • Visiting the sick. • Preaching the gospel. • Doing good. • Visiting quietly with family members. • Seeking forgiveness of sin. • Journal writing. • Fellowshipping members and nonmembers. • Enjoying uplifting music. • Resting. President Ezra Taft Benson said the Sabbath should not be used for: • Gardening and housework. • Taking trips to recreational areas or resorts. • Wasting time. • Making up for sleep lost on Saturday. • Refueling the car. • Being so busy there is no time for prayer or meditation. • Engaging in sports or hunting. • Reading material that does not spiritually uplift us. • Shopping. So tomorrow, I've vowed to have our family NOT watch TV, play mindless video games or get on the internet. Instead we'll have breakfast without the TV being on, do a craft with the kids (make magnets for their bulletin boards), get ready and go to church then go to our friends house for dinner. At bedtime, I'll ask the kids what they thought of the day sans TV and video games. Hopefully their answer will be positive and hearts will be filled with the Spirit confirming to them of their obedience. Exodus 20:8-11 (all these scripture references are KJV) 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 31:16-17 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. Deuteronomy 5:12-15 12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. 13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. 15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. Q: Do you have any uplifting stories to share about Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy? How about your family teachings on what to do or not to do on the Sabbath? I'd love some ideas of alternative activities that kids could do in keeping with this doctrine.


~j. said...

You know what, I used to never have the tv on on Sundays. Never. But now that my husband leaves each Sunday at 6:am for meetings and I'm left to get my week-away-delivering-a-baby self and the four other kids ready and to church by 9:am...well, sometimes I turn on Veggie Tales so that at least a few people will be distracted for a bit. I know this will only get more crazy after the baby comes. But your post has given me pause, and I like thinking of the Sabbath as a time to be unspotted from the world. Would you consider Veggie Tales to be worldly?

La Yen said...

I am commenting on Sunday. Because I am not able to give it all up. W and I have this discussion all of the time, but we are just too addicted, I guess. I would LOVE to have a more spiritual Sunday. But our church now starts at 130 and it is really hard for me to keep Jooj entertained and occupied before and after, plus get everything ready. So we watch TV. Maybe when she is older. Or when I am a better mom. I would love to hear the suggestions, too!

luckyzmom said...

I think it is important to establish family traditions.

Jennifer Grigg said...

Printing, hanging on my wall and my kids walls, and the frig, and mailing to my mom, sister and niece!
We miss you, but you look good in Seattle. Now I need and excuse to come up there!

cazmom said...

Wow. That was really long. But good advice/reminder. I'd love to have the TV off and not yearn to take a nap after church every Sunday. Its really easy to do when Caz isn't around. I think you forgot to add that before you went downtown on Saturday, you stopped by my house to get the book.

sue-donym said...

Ouch. This one hurt.

Lisa said...

~j, it's like you and I are living the same life! I'm okay with the occassional Veggie Tales or Living Scriptures (we had a cousin give us the entire set) because it's talking about the scriptures, and it's short. Mostly, my kids now play together which is nice. And noisy. And sometimes loud. And usually involves tents. They are making wonderful memories with each other, so I like it.

My suggestion: turn on classical music first thing in the morning and play it all day. Topher always does this, whether he's home or not. It sets a good tone, makes it feel like a different day. We listen to Eric Glissmeyer on KBYU.

We also like walks after dinner.

CW said...

Sooooooo incredibly good to see you Saturday and just hang out together. OK, lunch at The Cheesecake Factory was pretty good, too.

All I can say is this--I think you are smart to decide whatever it is you want your Sabbath to be and to establish it now. I look back with regret I didn't try harder to do that because now I have teenagers and I know I can invite and encourage, but I cannot force.

Melody said...

Thank you for making me think . . . I need to stop using Sunday as laundry day.

Our family's best Sabbath days are spent just as you (and those you referenced) suggest. We used to have "TV free week" regularly when my kids were young. It made a huge difference.

I will add that any time spent in nature feels like sabbath/worship to me. So I'm a believer in Sunday picnics and anything that gets us out into God's green earth.

c jane said...

I always wonder about preparing food with a singleness of heart. Our biggest meal is on Sunday. The family is together, people are hungry. But preparing the big meal is not going simple, and the clean up is work, thereby canceling out two admonishments of the Sabbath Day. (Am I even making sense?) I think about this a lot because I don't know if I can give up the Big Sunday Meal. I look forward to it all week.

Lucky Red Hen said...

This post was in NO WAY meant to make people feel bad about what they're doing in their home. I certainly didn't want to come across as preachy or accusatory. It was for ME with the hopes to get some kind of encouragement with ideas and thoughts :) I didn't mean to make you hurt, Sue ;)

If anything, I'm the one that looks like the boob having raised my kids WITHOUT Sunday structure all their lives ;)

I LIKE TV. I LIKE using it as a babysitter. I LIKE that my kids can be distracted by it long enough to stop fighting or give me time to get projects done. There.

But seeing my 8yr old play a shooting game with dad on Sunday BEFORE we went to partake of the sacrament (like communion) and think about Jesus was too much and I snapped.

On Saturday when I mentioned the new rule to the kids, they seemed fine with it. That night I reiterated the reason (because God asked us too) and put a note on the TV just in case. Daddy didn't understand why the big push... I didn't either, until Monday.

Sunday morning was fine with them dinking around (I don't remember what they did, but they weren't sad about no TV or video games) then we went to church. After church we had dinner at a friends, so that blew some more time not noticing the rule. When we got home at 7, with bedtime at 8, is when we started the breakdown. Notibly from daddy, who thought it'd be fine to turn on the TV AFTER dinner (like it's not Sunday anymore???). I put my foot down and said NO, NOTHING for the whole Sunday! Why is that so hard? I don't get it.

The day was lovely without the distractions (I didn't even get on the internet except to quickly email someone about church stuff - but I didn't even peek at my inbox). The kids whined and moaned but eventually they went to sleep.

My take on the day... it was refreshing. Not that I got all spiritual, praying at every opportunity or doing godly things. But I at least did my best to follow the commandment as I have interpreted it for myself and it feels good.

That DOES NOT MEAN everyone should turn off their TV's and video games because I said so. ~j has a gazillion kids to tend to on Sundays without her husband (Veggie Tales would be on my tame list, Rambo would be on the not-so-tame list). La Yen is dealing the best she can with W overseas serving our country and I love her for her honesty (you do what you can with a 2yr old LOL).

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with a nap on Sunday (the scripture does say REST). I interpret it that you shouldn't be lazy and just stay in bed all day long being a slob ;)

If we had Living Scriptures, I wouldn't mind throwing it on if I needed some back-up. Maybe that's what I could've done to ween them off the juice LOL. We're fans of classical music as well, so thanks, Lisa, for reminding me of that trick.

Exactly why I'm starting NOW, CW. Figured I have a little more influence over them at this age than I would if I switched it on them later. Thanks for the confirmation (and it's not too late to be an EXAMPLE to your kids).

Melody, if we need underwear on Monday, then I will run a load of undies on Sundie and not feel bad about it. Guess it's better to be clean as long as I'm not doing that EVERY Sunday.

CJane, oh, CJane. I lovelovelove dinner with friends and family on Sundays. I call that "fellowshipping" in the highest degree ;) What is friendship if not over a hot plate of goodness? Suppose we could take the scriptures to the extent that some other religions have and prepare our Sunday meal on Saturday. I think the Lord knows our intent and isn't it better to strengthen family ties with the treasured Sunday dinner than not? I'm all for Sunday dinner (hint, hint, anyone wanting us to come over).

Darrell said...

We avoid watching regular TV and playing video games, but we will sometimes have KBYU for religious content. Also, the boys, even though disappointed that they can't have their 'normal' activities, without any hesitation will put on Veggietales or Scripture based DVD's. But we do spend more valuable time together as a family throughout the day.

It's difficult when the in-laws are in town, but the rule is still respected.

~j. said...


Gerald & Airika said...

Honestly, I don't think anything on your "do not do" list is bad. The Sabbath was intended as a time for us to rest, refresh and focus ourslves on our relationship with God. If we need to sleep, fine. If we want to go shopping with a friend, fine. As long as doing those things doesn't eliminate the time we need to focus on God and prepare ourselves to enter another week of work and worship. The Scripture is not rigid about what we can and can't do...i's about the freedom that a relationship with Christ can bring. You're spot on, sister...thanks for the post! ~Airika

Lucky Red Hen said...

Airika, I appreciate your point of view :) You rock!

I think the point of the "do not do" list is for those who aren't using the Sabbath as a day to focus their relationship with God. It's a way of giving pointers for those who want clarification on what the Sabbath could be and helps us to pay attention to the Still, Small Voice when we're not so distracted by the world.

A nap is one thing, but being lazy all day for the sake of it isn't bringing anyone closer to anything, winkwink.

If we go shopping, then the retailers must supply us with employees and THEY won't have the day off to spend with their families, attend their religious services, etc. Instead, we could plan to do our shopping on one of the other six days a week.

"The Scripture is not rigid about what we can and can't do," (yes, I agree) but the suggestions given in our church is all about helping us be closer to Christ. Kind of like some self-help books teach us ways to improve ourselves, our relationships with others and our outlook on other human beings.