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Keepin' It Holy

Keepin' It Holy

How honoring the Sabbath helps you remember what's really important
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In our frantic, frenetic society, where first-graders are in football leagues and children carry phones and planners to keep up with elementary-school extracurriculars, we need to "remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy" (Exodus 20:8) more than ever. But do we? Most of us recognize those words from the Ten Commandments, but we don't know how, or even if, they apply to us today.

Playing sports—and watching kids play—can be relaxing and joyful, after all.

Karen-Marie Yust, a mother of three and author of Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives (Jossey-Bass), says that in this overscheduled and overworked world, kids need to learn at an early age that they can take time to rest and focus on God.

"Our culture sends us the opposite message—if you're not frantically on top of everything, belonging to every imaginable club, and working all the time, you will be unhappy and unsuccessful," says Yust. There is real power, she adds, in taking a rest. Sabbath helps us learn that God is in charge, and Sabbath observance teaches us that taking a break is good. It's one way to say to your kids, "You will get into college even if you don't have that eighth extracurricular activity on your application."

A Family-Friendly Sabbath

Though Christian history is steeped with teachings about the Sabbath, we don't have too many contemporary models for Sabbath observance. Some of us might remember Sabbath-keeping from our childhood, when the stores closed on Sundays, and families spent leisurely afternoons lingering over lunch and napping.

But that model seems hard to square with today's world, where Sunday is often just another weekend day crammed with errands and chores.

Parents wishing to begin keeping Sabbath can start slowly (it's certainly not in the spirit of Sabbath rest to feel overwhelmed and stressed out about the Sabbath!). Dorothy Bass, author of Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time (Jossey-Bass), reminds parents to focus on putting good Sabbath practices in place, rather than emphasizing what one can't or shouldn't do on Sunday.

Instead of making Sundays primarily a time when one can't work (or, as was the rule in my grandmother's house, can't go to the movies), make Sunday afternoon a family time for all those restful, enriching activities you never have time for during the week. In an age when many families don't eat breakfast or dinner together, make Sunday a time of a regular family meal, even if it's just a simple post-church BLT. At my church, several families and friends gather together for regular Saturday night meals: special, leisurely dinners that usher in the Sabbath.

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Related Topics:Family; Parenting; Sabbath

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April 28, 2013  8:37pm

Sunday is not the Sabbath. The early church did not change the Sabbath to Sunday. In Acts it is clear that they kept meeting in the synagogues on Saturday. It was changed by the Catholics and Constantine.

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jo taylor

January 07, 2013  1:26pm

Please do not be deceived as to which day the Sabbath is! Read and study your bible for yourself and pray for God to lead you in spirit and truth! God said REMEMBER the Sabbath to keep it holy in His commandment NOT FORGET. Psalms 19:7 says 'The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul...'. Satan wants to destroy God's law. Daniel 7:25 says '...he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High and think to change TIMES AND LAWS: and they SHALL be given into his hands until a time...'. John 14:15 says 'If you love me, keep my commandments.' The seventh day (SATURDAY ) Sabbath observance was commanded by God not the SUNday. If we truly love God we would be converted by the Holy Spirit to do as He has said and not look for reasons not-to-do as he said. God bless you as you seek His truth.

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Magdalena Molina

June 01, 2011  5:15pm

This is a blessed truth. By practacing the principle of God's rest I regained my health and stability. I have learned that God wants us to live a balanced and planned life. And if we want to be effective for Him we have to spent more time with Him and less time doing things (that we think) He wants us to do. Rest is God's plan for us to regain our strength.

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