As leaders, it is easy to get caught up in the meetings, classes, councils, and activities that may be required of our callings. However, there is something immensely powerful that we offer our flock when we establish and thrive in habits that reflect the joy, peace, and hope of Fathers plan of happiness. As we model these holy habits, and their natural consequences, it allows us to serve others in a way that can inspire and encourage them as well.
One important avenue that Father has invited us to take more seriously is how we can find respite and strengthening through our Sabbath day observance. In a recent general conference M.Russell Ballard said:
“The Sabbath-day adjustments that emphasize home-centered, Church-supported gospel learning and studying are an opportunity to renew our spirit and our devotion to God within the walls of our homes. “(April 2019)
Let’s take a look at how we can rest, renew and re-center on the Sabbath that, in turn, will model a feeling of peace, hope and faith to those for whom we are called to serve.
The “Granny Shots” of Life
When I was growing up, our neighbor had a basketball hoop attached to his garage. We were often over there playing a variety of games with the neighborhood kids. Our favorite game to play was horse. You know, the one where you take turns making different shots on the court and when someone missed the shot, they got a letter. Once you spelled out “horse” you were out until the next game.
Oh, what fun we had making up unique and crazy shots to challenge one another. “Three steps to the left, run to the right and make a right hook shot.” Or even better, “Turn your back to the hoop, take 10 steps down the driveway and do a granny shot, backwards, over your head towards the hoop.”
I was always a bit relieved when I would get a break and the shot was back at center court and basically a free throw. It re-centered me and calmed me down for the next few shots.
The same is true as we re-center ourselves on the Sabbath day, it gives us the opportunity to rest and refocus.
All week long we are playing the game of life and there can be chaos, uncertainty, stress, fear, physical and mental challenges. Many times, we feel like we are doing a granny shot backwards. However, when we make Sunday our Sabbath, we allow ourselves to rest from our cares. Additionally, when we sanctify the Sabbath, it literally means, “To set apart as holy and rest from our labors.”
Let’s consider a few ideas on resting and re-centering.
Resetting our Minds and Body
I love to practice and teach tai chi. I’ve learned several forms and individual moves that literally help re-center my mind and body, yet none of those compare to having a sanctifying Sabbath day. Here are a few suggestions to consider in our efforts to allow the Sabbath to help us rest and re-center:
- Dress differently – goodbye sweats and yoga pants, hello church clothes or nicer clothes
- Save some special activities just for the Sabbath
- Family history – I love getting an email that states, “We may have found a new record”
- Zoom calls to relatives or others we love
- Write a REAL card to a ministering brother or sister, friend, or family member
- Seek inspiration on who Father needs us to reach out to today
- Arrange for ministering porch visits, or calls for the next week
- Have family counsels on how we are REALLY doing and talk about how to help each other
- Ponder on our “life vision” of what we want life to look like in 30 days, a year, 5 years and beyond
- Set goals for the next week to work on that vision
- Review goals from last week
- Pray for, by name, our ministering families, AND their children
- Ponder on ways to fulfill our calling this week
Why is the Sabbath so Special?
I was recently re-reading Joseph B. Wirthlin’s October 2006 talk, “Sunday Will Come.” In his talk he spoke tenderly of several loved ones who had passed away over the years. His father, mother, younger sister and dear wife, Elisa. He explained the loneliness he especially felt after the passing of his sweetheart. Yet he felt a deep hope and peace because of his understanding and testimony of the resurrection.
He spoke of the darkness on the Friday of Christ’s crucifixion:
“I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth. On that day the veil of the temple was rent in twain. On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God. I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest.”
I don’t know about you, but I weep when I consider what our Savior went through that day for me. I know that no matter how dark my day may be, the Prince of Peace knows far more deeply what a dark day looks like.
Elder Wirthlin continued explaining:
“But the doom of that day did not endure. The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.”
Sunday Will Come
The Sabbath takes on a special meaning and reverence as we consider the impact the resurrection has on all of mankind. He did rise, He did redeem, and He does invite us to remember Him this sacred day as we partake of the sacrament each week. What we choose to do on the Sabbath will either enhance and strengthen our relationship with Christ and Father, or it may just be another day. If it’s just another day, then we aren’t able to rest and become re-centered.
Perhaps it will help us in our efforts as we consider Elder Wirthlin’s final comments:
“Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, in this life or the next, Sunday will come.”
May I add my testimony to Elder Wirthlin’s. Sunday will come. As we struggle through this pandemic and all other life challenges, Sunday WILL come. As we use the Sabbath as an opportunity to rest and re-center, it will strengthen us, it will whisper peace to our troubled souls, it will allow us to be an instrument in Father’s hands. The Sabbath day can help us to endure the Fridays when we know Sunday is coming because the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus Christ, has deemed it so. May we regularly strive to allow that great redeeming sacrifice to bring us rest and re-centering each week.
Beth Young is the written content manager at Leading Saints. She is a convert of 42 years; served a mission in North Carolina; has been married for 32 years to her sweetheart, Bob; has five children and two grandchildren. She raised her family in Texas for 25 years where she served in various capacities in church and in her community. She has been a “Utahn” for just over 2 years and enjoys the wonderful outside activities and people in Utah. She loves writing, teaching and inspiring others to make changes to their physical, mental and spiritual health.