image by Natalie Maynor
By Joanna Rodriguez, Contributing Writer
Sabbath: The Forgotten Commandment
As Christians, we generally hold pretty tightly to the ten commandments. But when in comes to that pesky fourth commandment, we tend to either ignore it altogether or observe it legalistically. You know, don’t mow your lawn or play baseball or go shopping on Sunday. Really? Is that what God intended?
I think we need to reclaim the Sabbath.
Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and got in trouble for it. We are not called to be legalistic. But in a culture that goes and goes and goes, where people work on Sundays and play sports on Sundays, where we can read email from our smartphones any time of day, where electricity allows us to stay up as late as we want, where so many people are stressed and anxious and eating poorly, where cities and farmland never sleep, one thing is clear: we need rest.
So here are 8 practical ways you can help your family revive the practice of Sabbath rest.
Choose a Day
If Sunday is not practical for your family, choose another day of the week. My husband is in ministry so Sunday is definitely not restful for us. We choose a day, depending on our schedules during a particular season, when we won’t have anything on the calendar. Does stuff come up? Yes, more often than we’d like. But when we get off track because of travel, or moving, or whatever, we ask for God’s grace to help us get back to a balanced rhythm of life.
Set Some Boundaries
I’m not talking about rules, like don’t mow the lawn on Sunday. I’m talking about healthy boundaries. Talk with your family about what constitutes “work.” Obviously as parents, you can’t get around changing diapers, feeding children, etc. But you can commit to not being on computers, not driving all over town, or eating simple meals. Imagine what a restful day could look like, and then talk about how that might happen.
Cook Meals Ahead
If your Sabbath is Saturday, cook larger portions of meals on Thursday and Friday so you can eat leftovers. Or pull something out of the freezer like some soup or pre-cooked beans. If you end up without leftovers try some of these ideas. And if you really need a break from the kitchen, order pizza (gasp!) or some other compromise food that you can live with.
Spend Some Time in the Word Together
Sing Some Hymns
Is your family musical? My husband is a musician, and recently we’ve been singing songs together from a new hymnal that we’re excited about. If none of you play instruments, what about just singing along with or listening to some of your favorite praise and worship? If your kids like to dance, let them dance around the room!
Watch a Movie
Go to a Local Park
You don’t have to stay home all day. Take the family outside to enjoy nature. Go to the beach or a local forest preserve, and soak up some of God’s creation. In some seasons, it’s stressful enough to get the family out of the house that it might not be worth it. But if you can get the family into the car with relative ease, enjoy a little escapade through nature.