ISSUES OF FAITH: Keeping Sunday as a day of rest

WHEN I WAS in college, I remember a lot of projects, papers and assignments were due on Mondays, which made Sunday seem like the natural day to do these.

However, I did not feel good about doing these things on Sunday. In fact, I decided that I wouldn’t even do homework on Sunday.

For many Christians, Sunday is the Sabbath. It’s a day we dedicate to the Lord. However, how that looks to various denominations and religions is very different.

This practice comes from one of the 10 commandments. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

It goes on to explain, “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work, 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. 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 20:8-11).

As I understand this, Sunday should be different from the rest of the week.

Later in Exodus, we read, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”

Keeping the Sabbath day holy is how we show a sign to God that we respect Him and follow His commandments.

What might that look like? What sign do we want to give to God on the Lord’s day? I personally try to avoid work including schoolwork. I do my shopping on Saturday so we do not have to go to the store on Sunday.

Instead, I focus on spending time with my family.

I go to church. I worship God. I partake of the sacrament. I sing hymns. I hear gospel lessons. I read the scriptures.

Ultimately, all of this turns my thoughts to the Savior Jesus Christ.

I also spend time with extended family and I spend time serving others.

Our Sabbath day doesn’t have to be overly regimented, but I do believe as a society we have strayed from what would be pleasing to God.

Our Sundays look very much like every other day.

God blesses us when we put Him first.

One blessing that I have seen as a result of my Sunday worship, is that on Sunday I physically and mentally rest from things that wear on me during the week. I get a fresh start on Monday as I re-engage in my career; as I get back to yard work and other things which I have paused for one day a week.

I think that it’s helped me to unwind and connect with God in ways that I don’t think I could have if I treated Sunday as every other day.

I have been able to spend a lot of quality time with my family.

Being self-employed most of my career, it’s tempting to work on Sundays.

I see emails that come in, orders that need to be shipped, voicemail and the list goes on.

I feel that God has blessed me as I put Him as my priority and set those things aside on Sunday.

William W. Phelps penned these words:

Gently raise the sacred strain,

For the Sabbath’s come again

That man may rest,

That man may rest,

And return his thanks to God

For his blessings to the blest,

For his blessings to the blest.

I believe in compensatory blessings that come when we follow the Lord’s commandments. I also believe there is sound science in giving our minds and bodies a day of rest.

The Sabbath has become for me, as the prophet Isaiah said, “a delight” in my life.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Bishop Jason Bringhurst is the leader of the Mount Pleasant Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Angeles. His email is jasonbring@gmail.com.

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