"call the sabbath a delight"
Yesterday, on Good Morning Girls, Courtney shared about the Lord's Day, and how they do things in her home (all connected to the current GMG Bible readings, which I have stepped back from doing currently). It made me think that I would share with you about how we "do" Sundays.
It was always something that, for me, was just a normal way of life.
The Lord's day is a special day, set apart from all others. It's a day that was both established at creation, when God rested on the 7th day, and in the Ten Commandments, too. In the Law, there were a lot of regulations about exactly how to keep the Sabbath, but under grace, the Lord showed that it wasn't about the keeping of the laws. Rather, it's about embracing the spirit.
You may think, from what I have said, that I am going to tell you that we do what we want on the Lord's day, but that is not true! Under grace, I endeavour to keep the Lord's Day as the day it was intended.
So, what was the purpose of it?
After God created everything, did he NEED to have a rest? Was He weary from all the work he had been doing? Of course not! God designed that rest day for US. Part of that reason was because, humanly speaking, we need a physical rest from our labours. But, more than anything else, it was designed to be a day of worship and praise - it was created, as all things were, for God's glory. It says in the Ten Commandments that God "hallowed" the day - it became a Holy Day.
So, if God wants us to have this special day, what should we be doing in it, and what should we not be doing.
I'm not going to tell you that!
Because, under grace, we cannot give a list of dos and don'ts! I can't tell you you MUST cook your dinner the night before. I can't tell you that you must NOT go for a walk. I can't tell you you MUST read only the Bible. I can't tell you that you must NOT eat complicated meals.
What I will do is tell you how I plan for the Lord's Day, and what I do, don't do and why.
On a Saturday, I always lift out my joint of meat for the next day. We always have a roast, with virtually no exceptions. We LOVE our Sunday roast. I also peel all my vegetables, and cover them with water, ready for the next day. It's as much about making sure the dinner goes on quickly, after Church, as much as to do with giving myself less work on a Sunday.
We always tidy the house, ready for the Lord's Day. If on no other day, a Saturday is the day when we do a really good tidy up - all the bedrooms must be tidied, and all the living areas are tidied.
We all have baths or showers, and make sure that everyone is sparkling clean for the next day!
The day starts as normal, with breakfast. We put on some nice "Sunday" music, whilst we are eating and clearing up. Then, we get dressed and ready to go out. We have the joy of living a short drive from the Church, so we don't need to leave until 10.15am.
Of course, the main activity of the day is attending Church. I love going to worship with God's people, in God's house. It's one of the highlights of my week. We are blessed to be in a small congregation, where we all know each other quite well and it is like a big family. At the moment, with Simeon being quite "vocal", we don't sit in the service long, before going out to Robert's study, where the meeting is relayed out. However, I still get to hear the Word being preached, and join in with singing the hymns. I am really blessed by my husband's ministry, which is very Christ-centred and edifying. We are a "traditional" Church, with simple singing of hymns, prayer, reading the scriptures and preaching. I love it.
When we get home, the children have a special "Sunday sweet". We have a crystal bowl, filled with sweets, and they get one if they have behaved well enough in Church, and as treats in the afternoon. I get on with making the dinner (cooking the veg, the roast is put on before we leave), and the children (or any visitor's that may help) set the table. We really do enjoy our Sunday dinner!
On the Lord's Day, we don't allow the children to play with lots of noisy toys. Part of it being a day of rest, is putting aside all their own entertainment, especially if it is not restful for ME! *grin* Being a peaceful day, in a busy, noisy household of 9, is a special thing all on its own. They have special Bible story books, and for the older ones, books with a strong Christian theme or about missionaries. They have a lovely Playmobil Noah's Ark, which they enjoy. We bought it for "Elijah and Simeon" for Christmas, but really I got it for all the children's benefit. But, shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don't tell the little boys! *winks*
We also do Postal Bible School in the afternoon. Our Church doesn't have a Sunday School, so they don't have that to keep them occupied. So, this is a Bible Correspondence course for children, which is all run on a voluntary basis, and free to receive All we pay is the return postage. They have one per month, and it is age appropriate. They really enjoy the Bible stories, and lessons they learn from it.
Another favourite activity, for the children, is drawing. They draw picture after picture, and bring them to show me. :-)
Something we have started to introduce, as a treat for me (now that the children are older) is that the oldest ones clear up from dinner, load the dishwasher, wash up any dishes and tidy the kitchen. They are getting better at it, and it allows me to sit down after dinner, and put my feet up.
So, what do I do? I have people for Sunday dinner at least 2 out of 4 Sundays. My Brother-in-law, Sister-in-law and their boys come 2 Sundays. So, on those days, I enjoy having a lovely chat with them, whilst supervising the children's activities. On the other weeks I tend to read. I have such a busy week, that I don't always get as much reading time as I would like. Sometimes I will watch a service in America, via Sermonaudio. I particularly enjoy tuning in to Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, in Grand Rapids. The ministry of Mr Beeke and Mr VanderZwaag is excellent, and I am always blessed upon hearing God's Word being preached by these men.
Twice a month we also have a "tea" together at Church - once before the evening service, and once after the evening service. These are precious times to chat to those of "like precious faith" and find out how everyone is.
What do I NOT do on a Sunday? I do NOT do any unnecessary housework. I consider it necessary to cook a meal, and to clean up after meals. I do not consider it necessary to do dusting, deep cleaning, vacuuming or any laundry. I do break the laundry "rule", if bedding needs to be cleaned, or there is some other "biological" incident. I also pop my first load for the week into the washer on a Sunday night, to get ready for starting all over again on a Monday.
As it is a day to focus on worshipping the Lord, we don't tend to socialise with unbelievers. It is harder to keep your mind on the Lord, when people are not behaving in a godly way.
We keep the TV off through the day, just to have a break for that kind of entertainment, too. I make an exception if I have had children at home ill all day, and I let them watch a Bible story DVD before they go to bed.
We do not go out to eat, or do our shopping (including online). They are both activities that require someone else to be working on the Lord's Day, so we don't want to encourage that. We virtually never get our fuel on the Lord's Day, or lift out money from the bank. Robert has a Saturday night routine, where he fills up the car with fuel, and lifts out his offerings for the next day. It means it has been thought about, and there is no risk of being unprepared the next day.
We don't do school work, of course, either. The children are exceedingly glad about that! *chuckles*
So, the summary is that we have a restful and peaceful day, with our main focus being upon worshipping God, and focusing upon His Word. Putting aside the cares of life and focussing upon the Lord. As the children get a bit older, I want to start doing some hymn singing around the piano. I have happy memories of doing this in the past, and want my children to enjoy it too.
I really enjoy the Lord's day. All my other days are so busy, that I enjoy the rest that I get. I know I still have to make dinner, but because I try and get ready the day before, it's not that much work. I especially enjoying sitting down, whilst Simeon sleeps, and completely RESTING!
There are, finally, some things I WANT to start doing. From next weekend (following an incident where a certain young man's Sunday shoes were missing, which resulted in frantic searching just before we left, and a reprimand in the car....), we will be laying out all their Sunday clothes at the end of their beds, laying their shoes in a row by the stairs and setting out their hats and Bibles. I think it will put an end to some of the frantic searching we
So, how do you spend the Lord's Day? Do you have anything special that you do, or things you try and avoid? Please share in the comments below, or blog about it too!