Our testimony of how we began enjoying God's Sabbath
This author was reared in the common belief that the Sabbath was a thing for the Jews under the Old Testament law, and that God instituted the first day of the week to be the new day 'dedicated' for the church's worship. I was so convinced of this belief that I taught and wrote about it for my first seventeen years of ministry. I knew the two main proof text verses by heart (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2) and recited them as needed.
While I did have some questions regarding the original institution of the Sabbath during creation, it was easy to suppress them because they in no way could trump my understanding of these two main proof texts as well as the nearly universal practice of the church from the first century onward (I've since learned its actually the third century onward).
To my great surprise, I was shocked when I learned what the Scriptures actually said, not how they were translated. Switching my belief on this was no easy or quick process, it took two years of mulling over this issue before I could fully accept the continuance of the seventh-day Sabbath. I had a very hard time fathoming the idea of being 100% wrong on this my entire life.
After the first of the two year mulling period, we began observing the Sabbath as a family. We had no formality, no guidelines, no rituals, no preconceptions, and no legalistic pressures. Our family's focus was more on what we can do vs. what we couldn't do, so we began delighting in the Sabbath as our no-work-family-fun-day.
How we started and where we're going
There are a few simple things we started with to make the Sabbath our day of delight:
- We make sure to eat at least one really good meal as a family
- This is the one day of the week our kids can drink soft drinks
- We try to always eat a dessert
- Each family member gets $2 to pick out any candy we want for Shabbat
- We refrain from all chores and work duties that aren't absolutely necessary
- We enjoy a family activity (usually inexpensive) that allows us to enjoy God's creation and/or play games
- We often listen to a few Shabbat songs on Friday night to introduce our no-work-family-fun-day:
In 2009 we bagan honoring Shabbat, while fully embracing it with my family in 2010. These simple treats were what our family added to introduce a new concept (Sabbath) which was well received. Our family looks forward to every Sabbath as our day of delight, a day God has given for us to enjoy and praise Him. We are now in the process of adding three more treats:
- Reading a weekly Torah portion to help us be in an attitude of thanksgiving all day
- Lighting a Menorah on Friday night to fragrance our home and be a visual reminder of the specialness of the day
- Doing a random act of kindness to others.
We are excited about adding these additional treats; especially deciding as a family what we want to do to be a blessing to someone else. It is my prayer that these may spark inspriation for ideas for you and your family.
In the next Sabbath article, I will be sharing the Scriptural reasons of why we began enjoying the seventh-day Sabbath, and why you should to.