…Above all you shall keep My Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you… a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord… It is a sign forever between Me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.
Around here, we love Sundays. We love the routines it carries, the rest it brings. It is an anchor for our week, the most predictable day of all.
A Sunday here is typically quite simple in structure yet profound in what it represents. Rest is indisputably delightful, in its various manifestations and representations! All five of us cling to the joy of resting on the Lord’s Day. We go to bed earlier than normal on Saturdays so we are well rested—in order to be prepared for the day of rest! (What could be more wonderful preparation than that?!) We have some of our best & favorite foods and wear some of our best & favorite clothes. We go to church to worship the King and be with His people. One of my favorite things about Sundays, personally, is how we covenantally ascend into heaven (just read Hebrews 12 for yourself) during corporate worship, because it makes me feel so intimately close with my nine babies in heaven. We commune through bread and wine with the Lord and with one another. We sing and pray, pass the peace of Christ to one another and find ways to shower grace upon each other, share conversation and fellowship and food and handshakes or hugs. While sometimes Sundays include hospitality, family parties and meals at the grandparents’ house, or spending hours with friends, we do sincerely love Sunday afternoons that offer us quiet hours at home—not to fret over schoolwork and house projects and cleaning nooks & crannies, but to play together and rest together. We love enjoying God’s creation on His day, from many vantage points and in varied ways. We have a special family tradition on Sunday evenings of eating goodies and doing something fun—for this current season of our little family’s life, it usually looks like eating popcorn & ice cream while snuggling & watching movies. After kids are tucked in their beds, it also means date night for my husband & me—with wine, chocolate, cheese, and sometimes a movie just for us.
Sundays—the Lord’s Day—our Sabbath—is a foretaste of heavenly rest, and a recurrent (utterly joyful and blessed!) reminder that our hardworking life should be predictably punctuated by worship and delight. And it isn’t just because in our human frailty we need a break from the six other days where we run around working hard, being as productive as we can manage, and having an undercurrent of diligent & dedicated labors. It is, after all, a good reminder that God did not rest on the seventh day of creation because He was exhausted. He rested to delight in His work.
God did not rest because He was tired.
He rested so that those made in His image
would share in His rest through worship.
He rested so that He could turn Adam and Eve’s attention
from the creation to the Creator.
In a sense, God was saying to Adam and Eve and all humanity,
“Come and rest in who I am and what I have accomplished.
Enjoy with me the goodness of all I have made.”
This was to establish a rhythm of
engagement with the world through work
and then thankful enjoyment of the world through worship.
~Nancy Guthrie, The Promised One, p45~
Some Sundays are more placid than others. Sometimes our resting is kind of… well… flat out energetic and lively and noisy or busy enough to even border on chaotic.
In fact, at this very moment—while I might be reclining on a comfy bed with a cozy comforter snuggled on top of me and a cup of tea within reach—I have an excessively wiggly and noisy two year old girl going up and down, up and down, up and down… screaming and giggling and babbling, trying to grab at the computer keys or spill my tea cup… while a video booms with bright images and loud soundtrack in a corner of the room and children carry on with continual commentary, occasionally interspersing requests for a water bottle, popcorn or ice cream refill, or simply expressing utter delight in sharing goodies with one another on this special day of the week.
And this is after lots of lively fellowship & projects at Sunday school, loud singing during worship (although I must confess that the entire corporate worship service is beautifully rich and peaceful even in our busy pew), a boisterous lunch at a crowded Red Robin restaurant (mac & cheese, ketchup, and juicy orange segments seemed to get absolutely everywhere!), and a long chatterbox-filled 26-mile drive home.
But these in fact are some of the best ways that we see Christ, His goodness, His rest, His future hope—in the people He put around us, and especially those in our own home under our own discipleship. We turn our hearts to Him and tune our souls to His praise, resting in who He is, what He has done, and delightfully embracing these living temples where He lives right here among us—but sometimes the resting is clamorous and rollicking rather than quiet and what you might describe as serene.
But whichever way our Sabbath rest takes us on a given day, we delight in the gift of the Lord’s Day (Mark 2:27), knowing that the Lord accepts our worship, covers us with grace, and fills us up on this day that He has set aside for us (and in return, we set it aside for Him) so that we can once again go forth to labor for another six days in His creation before being called again to this sanctified day—this day where we enjoy all that God has made, and where we delight in six days of productivity and rest in enjoyment of His sweet grace in so many of its innumerable manifestations.
Serenity, silence, and solitude are good things.
God uses quietness to tune our heart to listen to Him through His Word.
Silence can help us pray without added distractions.
In the peacefulness of our surroundings,
the Lord can still our busy heart.
“Truly alone” time with the Lord is a gift.
But so are the times when you’re ringmastering your family circus.
The Lord is just as near to you when you’re
using a bulb sucker on a tiny, congested nose
and as you’re summoning the wisdom of Solomon
to settle a spat over a disputed toy.
~Gloria Furman, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, p72~
And now it’s clear that I need to move on to ringmastering my family circus down for the night… the three rings are busy and the tents are bouncing. I have a little girl here who can’t seem to decide whether she is a dancing poodle, a trapeze artist, or toy juggler—and it’s always fun to wrangle acrobats into their beds. So excuse me please while I go tuck these little God-images into their beds, and watch them drift into the rest of sleep as the rest from His day prepares them (and me!) for another six days of working the ground the Lord has put into our hands.