Working for the weekend! (Part I)
It’s Wednesday already. (For many it’s Ash Wednesday even – while important, not applicable to the fact that it’s Wednesday) And at our house that means one major thing is taking place: our attention has been turned to the weekend!!! WOOT!!!
Now, I don’t mean turned toward the weekend, as in the world’s mentality, although I suspect that is merely a perversion of the heart attitude Father intended us to have. That’s not the world’s fault, it’s the Church’s for abandoning the practice of honoring the Sabbath. Just like the land in Daniel’s time, we have forgotten how important honoring the Sabbath is, in Father’s eyes. We have allowed ourselves to be busy about the things of life…and Sabbath has slipped away.
I remember the one time I ever heard a sermon on honoring the Sabbath day. It was legalistic and carried with it a burden far too heavy for a mom of 4, under age 6, to carry. I remember them calling us to honor the Sabbath in hospitality and ministering Christ to one another. As long as I could be the one always receiving the hospitality, I was cool – once it shifted into me being the one offering hospitality, then it became a heavy weight -one I could not carry. (Getting my crew to church without a fight, then getting them to sit still during church and, and, and….)
Over the last few years, Sabbath has gone from being important to us, to being highly protected and treasured. We decided several years ago to take Father at His Word and honor the Sabbath and receive the blessing that obedience brings. We have seen that happen in our lives. Granted, it took a while (not very long, though, let me tell you!) but before we knew it Sabbath was a sweet time of refreshment and renewal, serving to supply us with the energy and strength and fresh supply of “oil” to share with others.
Since I have been blogging about Sabbath, I have received several questions asking for specifics of how we honor the Sabbath in our house. I have hesitated to share what we do in too much detail, because, as goes the way of my flesh (and I’m assuming yours) it’s simply too easy to make this a matter of legalism. But, in the past few weeks, the Lord has been laying it on my heart that it’s now time to share some specifics that might help you in your Sabbath Celebration.
There are two primary foci of our Sabbath Celebration: preparation and celebration. The preparation part is the more physically challenging and the celebration part the more spiritually challenging. Let me pause here and say Father loves Sabbath. He loves it when we delight in Sabbath. He loves to give us Sabbath. Because of that, you may be rest assured that the enemy is not going to love it, nor love you to take it. Expect some opposition, but do not give in!! (I don’t care if you have to feed your family pbjs and sing Kumbaya and read Psalm 23 – do SOMETHING that will allow your family to focus on the Lord each week.) Now, because Father does love Sabbath, He is faithful to give us creative ways that will minister to our family to honor it. (Now that’s no surprise is it?) 🙂
Within the focus of preparation, we have divided it down to three aspects: hearts, house and food. (I TRIED to think of a word for food that began with “h” – nothing came to me. Anyone got one for me?!) 😀
I’m going to work backwards, because food is the easiest. Please remember that as I share this, we have teenagers in our house, as well as BiggerLittles. We only have one Little these days and she’s quite a capable Little, at that. (She is one of those children that when given Play-doh for her birthday, never plays with it without cleaning it up, without being asked, every time. I didn’t know Littles like that existed.) 😀
Food for Sabbath, while it augments our celebration, doesn’t have to be “just right”, in order to have a good Sabbath. With that in mind, here is our food plan for Sabbath: Friday night is our biggest meal of the week. It is often “company ready,” despite the fact that we rarely have guests join us for Sabbath. (I think we might scare them off) 😉 We recently had guests over for Sabbath dinner and they were a bit taken aback at the size of our meal, however, come Saturday, we more than made up for it by our lack of feeding them. 😀
In addition to making food for Friday dinner (Side note: biggest meal does not necessarily mean most amount of work. It means nicest, it means salad and at least one veggie and dessert and main dish. That main dish may come straight out of the crock pot, making it a reasonably easy meal. The flow of the week previous usually indicates how elaborate (or not!) our meal is.) we also make what we call “Sabbath Soup”. Sabbath soup is a pot of mismatched things that came out of the week’s frig. Left over beans from Tuesday? Into the soup. Left over spinach sitting in the bag? Yep, soup pot! Any veggie that appears that it will soon go the way of the trash becomes Sabbath Soup.
In addition to – or even in place of, if we’ve been especially efficient with our left overs for the week – we like to have rice and beans (sometimes dhal) on hand. Beans are easily thrown into the crock pot Friday morning and left to cook all day long. (Rice can go in the oven with dessert or even into the electric skillet, if the oven is full.) This guarantees that we have something to eat throughout the day on Saturday. EASYEASYEASY is the goal. (In the thick of winter, we put Sabbath soup on and leave it in the oven on low all day Saturday. That way I don’t even have to heat it up.)
Saturday mornings, since they are celebration, we plan on having a “goodie” for breakfast. It could be cookies. It could be left over biscuits from the night before. It could be cold cereal. (At my house, that’s a goodie.) The only requirement is that it is different from our normal breakfast meals and it is considered “special.” (And special changes from season to season. Soon, rhubarb is going to be special – then strawberries. We live by seasons at this house, so it is very fluid.)
There are no such things as “official meals” on Sabbath, as some of us prefer to fast, some prefer to nibble all day long and some like to keep the normal meal times. If you come on Saturday and expect to be fed, all bets are off as to when that will happen. (We are quick to make certain, however, that our Little gets food! So hang with her if you come on a Saturday. Your chances are MUCH better that way.) 😛
House while wonderful when done well, isn’t a requirement for Sabbath. We have set up our household tasks revolving entirely around Sabbath. Each day we do something else that will have the house prepared for Sabbath, come Friday. Friday morning, we sweep in bedrooms, strip and remake beds and do the final floor cleanings in the main rooms. (I LOVE slipping into bed on Sabbath night on clean sheets. It almost seems like an indulgence.) Other than that, our bathroom person does a final job on the main bath and we clean out the frigs for food storage space, as well as soup makings.
Jeff and I do dishes after Sabbath dinner and then we don’t do dishes again until Saturday night. Yep, makes the kitchen a mess, but that’s our choice. We have tried doing them all day long, but that always means that someone’s Sabbath time is being disturbed. That’s not a price we’re willing to pay to not have dirty dishes on our counter. (Please don’t stop breathing – really it’s okay to have dirty dishes laying around. We don’t make our beds on Sabbath, either!! What can I say? We’re PLEBIANS!)
I must caution you, that as fleshly beings, I found it very easy to start honoring Sabbath, only to find it become some kind of “project” to attain to. If you find yourself struggling with that, STOP! Stop whatever it is that you’re doing for Sabbath and consider why you’re doing it. Sabbath can be had in a tent, with crackers and cheese, left overs and sick kiddos. Yes, I would encourage you to desire to do this well, but doing so, remember that the goal is to make the Lord the primary focus of your day – to allow Him to restore your soul, as He speaks of in Psalm 23. It’s not to impress someone or to have the “perfect” or “right” Sabbath. Sabbath is made for man, not man for Sabbath. Father’s yoke is easy and light. Don’t make yours, upon yourself or your family, heavy and burdensome! No one will enjoy Sabbath if you do that. (Including Father!)
Next I’ll share thoughts about preparing hearts and celebration, but for now, begin by asking Father how He would have you honor Sabbath this week. (Easy and light, remember?) We don’t impress God with the way we honor the Sabbath. Not too long ago I discussed that all obedience is for our blessing. Obeying the commandment to honor the Sabbath and keeping it holy is for our blessing.