Our Day of Rest

Jeff SpectorMormon, orthodox, sabbath 15 Comments

The seventh commandment, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8) seems like a fairly simple statement on the surface. But, in practice, its interpretation is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Depending on your faith tradition and your own level of observance, the Sabbath day can represent anything from complete abstention from anything resembling work, interpreted as work or could cause one to perform work, to absolutely nothing out of the ordinary at all.

Some faiths observe their Sabbath on Saturday, the traditional seventh day of the week, in keeping with the Lord’s schedule of creation, even though He probably didn’t use a Julian calendar.  Others have transferred the Sabbath to Sunday, in honor of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, even though, it is not clear of this is the correct “third day.”  And still others have determined the actual day doesn’t matter, especially if you happen to be a star in professional American Football.

In the LDS Church, this observance generally takes the form of attendance at church meetings, no shopping, and no recreational activities.  Pretty much after that, one is allowed to exercise their agency to determine appropriate Sabbath observance. Staying in Church dress all day, no TV, no contact with the outside world are some of the prohibitions some families observe. We are told that visiting family, the sick and homebound, studying scriptures, resting (in moderation, of course) and attending firesides are very appropriate activities. Eating is also allowed, excepting on Fast Sunday, where we abstain from two meals or for 24 hours, again depending on interpretation.

However, if you have certain Church callings, you may, in fact, work harder on Sunday than you might the rest of the week. Early morning meetings, more meetings, visits, planning, more meetings might cause you to be away from home the entire day, even missing meals with your family.  For those folks, the Sabbath is not the “Day of Rest” we’ve all heard about, it is quite the opposite.

As we wish to emulate our Heavenly Father, striving to be like Him, this is what He did after the six days of creation.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:2 – 3)

Hope you have a great Sunday and don’t work too hard!

Comments 15

  1. *Sigh* I really wish church leadership would embrace the idea of a day of rest. A lot of these meetings (not the worship services, but the planning meetings) are unnecessary, and they make things so hard for not only those with callings but for their spouses who are left alone with the kids all day. It stinks.

  2. Course Correction,

    I imagine that Jesus would blog on Sunday, because Saturday is the day he wouldn’t be blogging. And if he had a REALLY awesome post, he’d probably blog then too. The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath, etc

    Whichever day he would not blog, he would make ample and appropriate use of post scheduling and get his blogging done before the sabbath. ;0)

  3. Sundays used to be my worst day of the week. Things started at 7:00am and ended around 2pm, unless we had something going on that evening.

    Now that I teach Jr Primary, with a lesson that takes 10 minutes to prepare, my day is MUCH happier. It has truly become a family day. It is much more spiritual.

  4. I think this is a particular challenge for families with kids. It’s one thing for dad, who works a ‘normal’ 5-day-a-week job to see Sunday as a different day. Those kids, though? Not so much. Trying to find a way for the sabbath to be a joy for them, and still restful for parents, is tricky.

    In our family we have accidentally stumbled on a wonderful family tradition in the evenings after dinner on Sundays of playing games. It doesn’t work every Sunday, but most it does. And it’s a quiet and refreshing time together when we laugh with one another (even the 14 year old!). I’m glad it works for now.

  5. since we seem to be the outcasts of the bloggernacle, I must humbly submit Mormon Matters.

    the more interesting question is: which group blog is full of Pharisees and which is full of Sadducees?

  6. Post

    Andrew S,

    “which group blog is full of Pharisees and which is full of Sadducees?”

    Now you are seeing them as the bad guys the new Testament paints them to be. I supposes there are about a hundred ways to cut this?

  7. Post


    Thanks for your response. That is what I was hoping to get. i suppose that is asking a bit too much of this crowd. 🙂

  8. Jeff, I’m sure they see us as sinners and publicans. The other group blogs, that is, not the P’s and S’s.

    re: the actual topic.

    Sundays have generally been my favorite day of the week. (To contrast, Saturdays were my least favorite.) I just feel dilapidated on Saturdays…because Saturdays for me mean being bored, having nothing *fun* to do but having lots of *laundry* to do. Sundays are far more relaxing, but also uplifting. I think that’s because I get to go out for a bit (to church) and look nice while I’m at it (maybe it’s because I have awesome white shirts — I think more people would like the white shirt if they had nicer white shirts, haha), and dinner is always great (it’s historically been the only time we have breakfast-type foods — eggs served whatever style you want them, bacon that’s crisp, but not burnt and bark-like, buttered toast with jam, and cinnamon rolls for dessert!) Since we’re the 2-meal faster types, dinner is even better on a fast Sunday.

    Growing up though, I could see that my father did a lot with his callings. I mean, I wasn’t in the room with him, but since we went to church with him, we had to wait for him late after church while he finished doing stuff. That was really hard, and when we learned how to drive, we took advantage of that.

  9. Call me ungrateful or lazy or whatever, but I requested to be released from my previous calling because all of those extra meetings that turned Sunday from a day of rest into the busiest day of the week just left me burnt out. What was always most annoying is when no one else showed up for a meeting and I ended up wasting an hour or more hoping someone would show up.

  10. Post

    “What was always most annoying is when no one else showed up for a meeting and I ended up wasting an hour or more hoping someone would show up.’

    I always enjoyed productive meetings, which were about less than half of all I attended. So I definitely hear you on that!

  11. I heard President Packer start a regional PH Leadership meeting by saying, “It takes a great meeting to be better than no meeting at all.” I remembered that during the rest of my term as bishop, and sought to eliminate or shorten as many meetings as I could.

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