Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Shabbat- Part Deux

So, a while back (longer than I expected) I wrote about some ideas related to celebrating Sabbath as a family. Lots of other people have already written in depth about the theology related to Sabbath, and I'm certainly no expert where that is concerned. JD has a great book chapter here if your interested in some good, easy reading on the subject. It was good reading, and now I'm interested in what this looks like in our own family. Where does the rubber meet the road for us?

Eric and I had a good chance to talk about what this looks like for our family on the way home last night, and here's what we came up with.

First, for me personally, Sabbath needs to be about abandoning the need to accomplish. I like to get things done and I have a tendency to get pretty proud of myself for all of the things that I have accomplished all on my own. So what does that mean? Does that mean I have to sit around all day Sunday and do nothing in order to honor my Sabbath? Some of the times when I've connected and communed with God most closely have been in the midst of activity- walking, biking, sewing, scrapbooking, gardening, making bread etc. I needed a question or two to ask myself, concerning what I do on God's day.
- Would I be willing to abandon this activity mid-stream without completing it?
- Does it either provide opportunity to build relationship with God or with people?
These 2 questions should guide my activity.

Second, what will committing to honoring Sabbath mean to our family? Aside from the usual taking time to worship in a community, it should mean a break from daily routine. It is all too tempting to abandon routine during the week because of a particularly stressful day or whatever. I'll frequently overlook boys' chores that don't get done and do it myself. So we really end up with very little routine at all, and when we all of a sudden do try to do the "routine" the boys have forgotten what it is. How will Sabbath ever seem like the break from routine that it's supposed to if we avoid real routine all week?

Even though the boys won't be able to put it into words for a while, the rhythm of our Sundays should feel different and different in a positive sense. So what will we be doing differently?
- Establish AM and PM routines for all of us that are reasonable and consistent and include chores for all 3 boys every day.
- It will start with Saturday night bath time and family prayer time.
- We'll wake up with more than adequate time to get ready for church to avoid the hurry-up-and-get-ready mantra that happens every Sunday morning.
- We'll eat out for breakfast. This will give the boys something to look forward to while getting ready, and it lets us all enjoy a meal together where no one is working. We won't eat out for breakfast on any other day of the week.
- We'll go to church together, sometimes eat lunch with friends or sometimes not, but the overall approach to the day is relaxed and easy, not rushed.
- This is the one day of the week where the boys will not hear us respond, "No, I can't play ____ with you until I'm finished with _____." If Eric and I have nothing that we really need to accomplish on our Sabbath, then we are available for them- to play hide and seek, do puzzles, color, build with blocks, and whatever else. Not because we're catering to their every whim but because they should notice a difference in the way our family approaches life on this one whole day every week.

So, we'll start with that and see how it goes.
How does your family honor the Sabbath?


Anonymous said...

i was looking forward to reading your thoughts on this. your blog is just one of the many places that "Sabbath" has been brought up around me lately and i really was curious to see what you thought that would look like within a family. i appreciate your thoughts and ideas a lot. this is definitely an area i/we need to spend more time figuring out for our family.

Angela said...

Great ideas here, Erin! How exciting to implement this into your family. I look forward to hearing how it goes!

Stefany said...

LOVE THIS!!!! As we get ready to start a family, I'm so thankful for brilliant people like you in my life that are pro-active in making our families more God-centered. Thank you so much for this great idea! Currently, Sunday is my Sabbath from . . . well . . . nothing, I guess. I do sleep in, but that's about it. Good stuff to think about!

Simile Metaphor Collection

Elijah after running: My heart is beating like a coconut rolling down a hill.
Elijah on urination: Pee is like horses galloping out of the gate. Once they get started you just can't stop them.
Elijah: If school were a human I'd give it a wedgie.
Elijah: I am like a hot rod and I just want to be a plain old Ford
Elijah on the fruits of the spirit: I've got them all covered except self-control. Its like a tiny green tomato and the rest are all big ripe ones. Especially love. Its like the biggest tomato we saw in the garden tonight.