09 August 2009

Sabbath, Queen of the week

Awhile ago, I read an article or post or something or other about how conservative and orthodox Jews sometimes refer to the Sabbath as "Queen of the Week." Many Jews try to arrange their lives to point towards the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not just the last day of the week; it is the week's crowning glory, the pinacle towards which the week is headed. As the Sabbath approaches, everything is arranged to create an atmosphere of worship and rest for the family.

I thought it sounded like a very cool concept. Then the need for a Sabbath re-focus in our family hit us about mid-summer. We had a child meltdown at a church we were visiting and ended up leaving the service early. In analyzing the situation, we realized that the week before it had been completely crazy. The Saturday day preceding the meltdown had been crazy, the night before had been awful. Even Sunday morning was ridiculous. As we drove away from church that morning, we resolved to start thinking differently about our Sundays.

So, we've been trying to arrange our lives so that Sunday is the high point of the week. We're convinced that God created the Sabbath for a very good reason. Plus, we yearn for rest, for time for the family to be together, for special moments. Sabbath is just necessary.

So far, we are doing better at the practical things. We're trying to make sure that clothes are chosen, ironed and accessorized (i.e. shoes are found) before we go to bed. We pack the church bag with Bibles and diapers. And we try to make sure that breakfast is made (I've been making overnight rolls), lunch is on board and dinner is planned on Saturday evening. I've also been making a really conscious effort to discipline my thinking on Sunday morning. For some reason, I can be really grumpy and it just poisons everyone's morning. I've noticed Annalivia has a similar tendency, so we've been talking about being an influence for good. It's helped.

But if feels as though we have a long way to go in terms of how we think about Sabbath. How do we worship more fully? How do we see the day as unique in its blessing? And practically -- how do we rest? How do we capture special moments? What can we do to communicate to our children that the Sabbath really is a precious gift?

Any thoughts -- practical or cerebral/ spiritual? Anyone feel as though you do well with this in your family? I'd love to read about it!


Susie/Nueva Cantora said...

Do you read reverendmother.org? She had several posts about a sabbath project, both at home and through her congregation, a while back. Her kids are about the same age as yours too...

Amalee Issa said...


I had the unexpected opportunity of an empty house this evening, Sunday 7 Feb 2010, and decided I'd better get round to catching up with your blog. I started backwards reading and arrived at this post - it's so good. You write well (you always do), and this post set me thinking and remembering those horrific days trying to get the brats organised, shod, cleaned, fed, and out the door... exhausting. Great post, April.