Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Keeping a Sabbath Every Week, Part 2

I like to make small changes that last forever rather than drastic changes that last short-term, so I try to select one goal to work on at a time rather than adding a whole bunch of goals to my plate all at once. Um, I'm actually not very good at this and tend to pick out too many goals at once, so do as I say, not as I do. ;-) Anyway, I would be incredibly overwhelmed at the prospect of switching from an attitude of getting extra work done on weekends to an Old Testament-style Sabbath every Sunday.
I was talking with some friends recently who admitted that they would really like to celebrate a Sabbath meal each week but were having difficulties making it actually happen. As I look at ways to keep our weekly celebration and continue to make it more peaceful and enjoyable, I realized we need to keep our long-term goal in sight and make one change at a time toward that goal. My friends aren't likely to jump right into an elaborate weekly routine including a full and formal Sabbath meal with guests and dress clothes and fancy dinnerware. But remembering the real goal they hope to accomplish in their families can make more obvious the individual steps necessary to make that goal a reality.
The goal my husband and I have in our weekend routine is to set apart Sunday as honoring the Lord in a special way. We begin at our last meal on Saturday by saying special prayers and end at our last meal on Sunday with some more special prayers. This gives our family the opportunity to clearly state that this day is special, regardless of what those particular prayers are, what the meal itself is like, or how we're dressed while saying them. Our particular prayers are from the "Prayers for the Lord's Day" booklet (towards the bottom of the page), but the specific prayers are not half as important as saying any prayer setting aside Sunday as dedicated in particular to the Lord and His work. It could be a small portion of the longer prayer from that booklet, or a prayer made up by someone in the family, or a prayer based on someone else's efforts to honor the Sabbath. While the prayers based on traditional Jewish Sabbath prayers call for bread and wine, we've often also passed around cheese with the bread (to more obviously separate Sabbath prayers from Communion), juice may replace the wine, and I've seen water served and the wine/juice omitted, or bread replaced by crackers or tortillas or left out altogether. Some families I know with teenagers have gone their separate ways after the prayer before the meal, but they've made it a part of their family life to always come together on Saturday evenings to say the prayer even when some members of the family have other dinner plans.
Don't let the complexity of what a Sabbath can look like prevent you from enjoying a Sabbath in your home. However short the prayer, however simple the routine, using a special prayer to set aside Sunday as a day to honor the Lord has tremendous benefits for everyone who participates.
Linked to Works for Me Wednesday

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