Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

chapelOn Sunday, February 1, 2015, Mormon Women Stand posted on our Facebook page the following:

“The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things.  Abstinence from work and recreation is important but insufficient.  The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it.  To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, sleeping, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day to which he is expected.  [Failure] to do these proper things is a transgression on the omission side.”  President Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness (1969), 96–97.

Where will you be today? How will you keep the Sabbath Day Holy?

footballNo, it did not escape us that it was Super Bowl Sunday.

First, let me come clean here.

  1. It was my shift as an admin on the Facebook page, thus my idea to post that.
  2. Yes, I did watch the Super Bowl with my husband.  (I am not a fan, but he is.)  I sat with him and crocheted.  No, I don’t resent that he watched the Super Bowl, nor do I fault him for it.  (We did attend all our meetings.)
  3. I do not always keep the Sabbath day holy.
  4. This year we are on the 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. schedule at church.  My husband is a diabetic.  He takes a snack to eat between meetings, but at 2:00 p.m. he is often quite shaky and we don’t make it all the way home without stopping for fast food—especially on the many Sundays we have to transport others home before going home ourselves.
  5. In the years when I was not active in church, we spent every Sunday in February with our children selling Camp Fire candy in front of department stores and supermarkets.

Keeping the Sabbath day holy is a very personal thing.  It was not my intention (or anyone else connected with Mormon Women Stand) to judge.  As I said, the television was tuned to football at our house.  I did, however, want to get people thinking about the choices we make.  I anticipated that I would take some flak over it, and there was someone who called me “preachy”—which is fine.  I have broad shoulders, or I would not have posted it in the first place.  I was also amused at several comments rejoicing that sleeping was included in that list (as was I).  However, I don’t think that means it is okay to entirely sleep away the day.

snow shovelMy favorite comment that was left on the Facebook post was, “Our friends from church shoveled our driveway (church cancelled because of weather) and we invited them in for breakfast.  What a great Sabbath day.”  Church was cancelled, yet two families found a way to keep the Sabbath day holy—through service; one shoveling snow, and the other cooking.

There is a wonderful article in the Ensign about young people who are striving to keep the Sabbath day holy.  I highly recommend reading it.  Young people tell their very real struggles to keep the day holy, and how they worked through it.  At the end of the article, the author quotes Brother Larry M. Gibson, First Counselor in the Young Men general presidency.

“Spend some time today creating a thoughtful plan of things that you will do to really make the Sabbath day a sacred and holy day in your life.  Then act on your plan”  (Emmaline R. Wilson, Blessed by the Sabbath Day, Ensign, Feb. 2015, quoting Larry M. Gibson, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, I Do Always Remember Him, New Era, Jan. 2014, 36).

sandMany of us struggle to keep the Sabbath day holy.  Today’s world is not conducive to keeping the day holy.  We are being pulled many directions by things of the world, and decisions have to be made.  Choices are not always easy.  Black and white lines appear gray, or nonexistent.  How we choose to keep the Sabbath day holy is a very individual thing.  Drawing a line in the sand is a wonderful idea, but where do we draw the line?  Many need to work on Sunday to support themselves and their families.  Sometimes we don’t even get to make that choice.

general-conference-2011-april-826117-galleryIronically, I’m dreading a trip to General Conference in April because of the lack of Sunday food choices for my diabetic husband.  Since we may be taking the train, we won’t be able to pack an ice chest with food, and we were unable to reserve a hotel room close enough to the Conference Center with a refrigerator.  I’m going to have to get very creative.  I do understand that restaurants should be closed on Sunday, but that does present some very real (and dangerous) challenges for my husband.  So I will be taking Brother Gibson’s advice.  I will be “creating a thoughtful plan.”

prayerKeeping the Sabbath day holy is extremely important if we are to keep our focus on our Heavenly Father and His eternal plan.  There are great blessings in store for us personally and as a people if we succeed.  I believe that if we truly take this matter to the Lord and ask for His help, we will be successful in our efforts.  We just need to give it thought, prayer, planning, and hard work.  Just as everything else that is worthwhile, hard work is involved.  I’m committed to trying harder.

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Laurie White

Laurie White is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California.She often writes as Tudie Rose.You can find her on Twitter as @LaurieBee, and as @TudieRose.She writes a weekly column for LDS Blogs.

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