I grew up in the church. Not always happy about it, but I was always there. I’ve attended small churches and big churches, churches that were alive and churches that were dead. In my thirty three years, I’ve spent the majority of my Sundays at church.
And it wasn’t until about two years ago, when we stopped going to church on Sunday that I really began to celebrate the day.
Now before you get your underpants in a jumble, we didn’t stop going to church. Our church, because of growth and lack of space, went from three Sunday morning services to two Saturday night and two Sunday morning ones. Our church leaders asked members to, if possible, make the switch from Sunday to Saturday, to free up space in the pews on Sunday morning for visitors and new attendees. And because we’re good listeners, we started going on Saturday.
At first, it felt weird and dirty to not be in church on Sunday mornings. If I went some place during the time we should have been in church, I felt compelled to tell strangers around me that I went to church on Saturday night. Like they cared. Like they were truly wondering why a saint like me wasn’t in church taking dubious sermon notes and singing with my angelic voice. It was ridiculous, but I’ve come to accept that I’m probably more ridiculous than most.
After a while, when we got into the rhythm of Saturday night church, I came to appreciate the switch. Saturdays are never relaxing or restful in our house. There are always errands to run, birthday parties to attend, swimming lessons to get to. We go to the gym to work out, Chris sometimes works, and all the things on my to-do list that were pushed off during the week finally come due on Saturday. So getting to church on Saturday never felt like a chore or an impossibility, it was just one constant in our busy Saturday.
And because of our busy Saturdays and then church that night, Sunday became this quiet, restful, family day. We didn’t have to rush breakfast and scream at kids to move faster as we hurried to the car (eh, not that I’ve ever done that before…). We didn’t try to cram in just a few more shopping stops on the way home from church and then grab lunch because we were still home in our pajamas at noon. Slowly, Sunday morphed to this sacred day where no one made plans, we watched too much TV, took random naps, and ordered pizza for dinner. We avoided scheduling things, tried not to make commitments, and fought wearing real clothes if at all possible.
I’m going to tell you that Sunday has become my favorite day of the week. We’re intentionally together, preparing for our week, resting from the past one. I get meals planned, clothes ready, and, if I’m feeling adventurous, I even sweep the floor. There is no rushing, no demands, no reason to move at anything but a lazy, easy pace. I feel like this is the closest I’ve ever come to keeping the Sabbath holy. It’s one of the ten commandments–to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy–and I always read that as don’t forget to get your butt in church. But this new routine we’re in, this new way of doing Sunday, is opening my eyes to what the Sabbath could be.
I think you can have the Sabbath any day of the week. Maybe for you, Monday is your rest and reconnect day. Maybe Friday nights at your house are sacred and guarded and it’s your holy time, the time you feel the most at peace. I’m sure there’s all kinds of Biblical and historical things I could quote right now about God’s plan for the Sabbath to make this post feel all church-y and official. But that’s not my style and looking things up just sounds like a lot of work right now.
But here’s what I know: you need to figure out when your Sabbath will be every week and then hold tight to it. Guard it fiercely and like your life depends on it. Whether it’s with friends, your family, or all by yourself, make the Sabbath a priority and it will flip your week and your world upside down. Because He knew what he was doing when he said rest. He knew what he was doing when he said slow down. He knew. And He still knows.
Mary E says
Well said, Mary!
Julie S. says
I would SO love to find a church that did Saturday night services, because Sunday’s are Brandon’s ONLY day off and it is SO hard to get motivated to go….
I didn’t realize how absolutely busy Sundays were until we switched–hopefully you can find a Saturday service somewhere!
I have discovered that I really enjoy going to early service on Sunday mornings (7:45) – even if I stay for Bible class, I am home by 10:30. For me, that time from 10:30 to 12:30 on Sunday mornings is a Sabbath resting time. The world just seems so still, and my house typically is as well. For better or worse, my husband isn’t a morning person, so he does 10:30 church. Since he ushers, we would rarely be sitting together anyway – so I have overcome the guilt of not going “as a family”. I will also say that Friday evenings though are my favorite block of time in the entire week – very peaceful after a crazy week of work, and since we rarely have things scheduled then, it is a respite before the weekend, with all its errands and events hits.
I’m so glad you have Sabbath time figured out already! It took me way too long to learn this and it really has changed my attitude on the upcoming week. We have small group every other Friday night, but I’d say those other Fridays are good, quiet, rejuvenating times too. Thanks for sharing, Lynne!
Mrs. Gray says
I love this. We recently moved, and we haven’t found a church home since we switched locations. I have noticed a big difference in our Sundays in the time we have been “out” of church.
Thanks. 🙂 Maybe you can find a Saturday service to attend now that you’ve seen Sunday from a day of rest! Good luck!
I super love this! In the midst of holiday eating, visiting, shopping and general running around that caused me to have low energy levels, I decided that Sundays were going to my “Reset” days. For food prep. For calendar collaborating. For detox baths. For picking out outfits to wear to work. General prep to make my weekdays go smoother. No commitments. No errands. No church. Unfortunately, our Saturday service switched to Sundays at 5pm in December, and the Youth Group still needs a volunteer, every other week, to run meetings form 6-8pm. But for as much as I can, Sundays will be my RESET days.
I do all of those things too! And even going to church on Sunday night after a day of resetting is probably really nice! If I don’t get my food and clothes ready for the week on Sunday, my whole week is off. So glad you’ve found a way to rest!
Dave and I started holding tight to our Sundays a few years ago, and with a house full of busy little boys, it has been our sanity. We go to our churches earliest service, come back home and spend the day together. And…mandatory nap time for everyone. Boys of every age. Mom and Dad too. From 1 to 3 PM on Sundays, we are resting our bodies and minds. It makes for a much better start to the week!
I love the mandatory nap! We do quiet time for the girls but I don’t always make myself lie down too, I know I should, but I don’t. So glad that you guys have figured out a Sunday routine that energizes you for the week! 🙂
“Shopping stops on the way home from church.”…..”ordering pizza for dinner,”……
How is this keeping the Sabbath Day holy? You are making people work when you pay them to serve you on the Sabbath.
It sounds nice I’ll admit. I just don’t know how you justify it.
I’m a little confused by your comment…and I think you’re missing the point. Also, taking parts of sentences that weren’t even in the same paragraph to argue something that I’m not saying. If you’d like to talk more about this, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
I don’t think what I asked was confusing. I also don’t think I’m missing the point.
Call it a “me day” if you’re going to hire other people to make your life easier on Sunday. Requiring people to work for wages on Sunday is the opposite of keeping the Sabbath Day holy.
Jessica, thanks for emailing to discuss this more. Oh, wait, you didn’t.
I was trying to be polite, but as an English teacher, it’s my job to make sure people understand what they read and comprehend at a level the author intended (it’s called “tone”). If you re-read the last two paragraphs of my post, I explain that Sabbath isn’t so much about keeping Sunday sacred, but about picking out a day of the week–ANY DAY!– to rest and renew yourself with God and friends/family, to stop being busy and just relax. I’m more concerned with a relationship with Jesus and living in community with others than rules and laws that split hairs. I think, actually, that’s what the Pharisees were famous for and I’m not a big fan of them.
I’m sorry you didn’t like that I said sometimes we order a pizza. That was highly upsetting to you which means I would suggest you not order a pizza when you’re trying to have a day of rest. I would also recommend you not use electricity, your cell phone, or drive on roads because those things rely on people to work on Sunday and that would just completely ruin your Sabbath day, obviously. Let’s just hope you never need police, ambulance, or fire services on a Sunday either because you couldn’t even call them to help you because it’s holy Sabbath day. Also, don’t ever go to church and worship on a Sunday because DID YOU KNOW MINISTERS GET PAID TO PREACH ON SUNDAYS? On second though, for you, I’d say screw it all and also stop reading my blog, please and thank you.
BOOM!!! That was awesome! Sometimes you just gotta put the smack down! It’s just like weeds, no one wants then in their flower bed so you get rid of them. Love you girl.
You weren’t trying to be polite…..you have a public blog telling the world about your righteous acts and I pointed out that you were breaking one of the 10 commandments and you’re trying to pretend like you aren’t. Ordering a pizza is not like ordering an ambulance lol.
You can either follow man or follow God and the bible. The choice is yours.