I have been reading “Wonderstruck” by Margaret Feinberg. She talks about making the Sabbath day, a day of rest. Reading about this in her book, I thought I did not need more rest. I am disabled. If anything I get too much rest. I didn’t give it another thought, because I thought it wasn’t relevant to me. I could see how it might be true for the author and working moms, who are always busy, just as it used to be for me before I got sick. I just didn’t think it was true for me now. I also thought that attending church service each week, was a big commitment. After all, a lot of people attend church irregularly, and we attend every weekend. I felt that we were honoring the Sabbath that way.
The church my husband and I attend has Saturday night services and Sunday services. We choose to attend on Saturday, so this last Saturday night at church, I was holding the wafer and grape juice during communion and praying. I always give thanks first, then make a couple requests of God to help me improve myself in some way, before eating the bread and juice. This time, I asked God, “What can I do to glorify you more in my life?” The response I got was, “Rest”. I asked, “Rest, why do I need more rest?” And His response was, “Rest on my Sabbath”. “Ohhh!”, I said. I realized that God wanted me to spend more time with Him on His Sabbath.
On the way home from church, I discussed the idea with my husband. He had been thinking about doing more church related things on Sundays, too. So, we came up with the plan to test drive a “Sabbath” Sunday that next day, where everything we did was somehow spiritual or restful and focused on God. We still were going to cook meals together, but we would not do dishes or other chores like laundry. We love to cook together, so this is bonding for us. We would spend extra time in prayer — We each separately spent about one hour in prayer. We would sing religious songs, or listen to religious music — We played music on our computer with lyrics that scroll, and we sang along to about six of our favorites. We would watch a religious movie, or a religious television program — We watched the movie “One Night With the King” about Esther ( a great movie, by the way, if you haven’t seen it). After the movie we talked awhile about Esther and the history of that time, and that led to a discussion about Daniel. We could also choose to go for a walk and enjoy nature, or read the Bible or a religious book about some part of the Bible, or volunteer at the church to help with Sunday services. We both did some reading. Somehow, we were very tired when it was time to get ready for sleep. We agreed that we had both enjoyed this new “Sabbath” Sunday.
I was very happy with the way our new Sunday went. I realized that I had not spent an hour praying all at one time, for a really long time. I felt so much closer to God during the last 15 minutes of that hour long prayer session. Usually I have short bursts of prayer during the day, and I always pray before breakfast every day. I just had not been spending longer than 10 minutes at one time in prayer. I didn’t realize how much different it would feel. This week I have also found myself more aware of God’s presence at various times throughout the day. It may take some adjustments to decide what we can do on Sundays, and what we won’t do. We don’t want to follow rules, but we want to make our Sundays special for God, and yet personal for us. We will probably need to discuss this more, but it looks like we will continue with our new “Sabbath” Sundays.
I always thought of the commandment to “keep holy the Sabbath day”, was a rule that I was supposed to follow. I also thought that just going to church each week, satisfied that rule. Margaret Feinberg in “Wonderstruck” has helped me to realize that the Sabbath day is actually “a gift of rest” from God. As such, it is a treasure for us to enjoy. And what better way to thank God for this gift of rest, than to spend the whole Sabbath day with God.
If you aren’t familiar with the book “Wonderstruck”, here is a link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A8SUZ5E/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb