Sermoncitos, a family tradition


The Sabbath Day

Ramah, New Mexico celebrates Pioneer Days each year in July. They have parades, talent shows, food, and many activities, including three days of rodeo. My grandson learned that his ancestors liked to work hard and play hard, but only until Sunday. As they traveled across the vastness of the continent and confronted every challenge, they pioneered roads, gardens, and home sites, but on Sunday they took time to rest, pray, and conduct worship services. They believed that the Old Testament admonition to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8) was reiterated by the Lord for their day (D&C 68:29).

When Jesus was criticized for what he ate, or who he was with, or the service he rendered others on the sabbath, Jesus told them, “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). This is a day set aside for the blessing of our families as we gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings. Ramah’s pioneer days are for all the community, not just members of the church, yet they are like ancient Israel, calling down a blessing on all those who live among them, by ending their festivities and closing their businesses on Sunday (Isaiah 56:1-8).

Jesus joined all Israel in celebrating the sabbath on the seventh day. The Romans were careful to respect this tradition, even in their savage punishments like crucifixion, ensuring that all the bodies were removed before the end of the week. In honor of the resurrection, the early saints changed their sabbath to the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The commandment to respect one day per week is the same today as in ancient times. “Thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle” (Exodus 20:10). Our prophets today have explained that this means we should not shop, hunt, fish, attend sporting events, or participate in similar activities on that day, but should “call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord, honourable” (Isaiah 58:13). When we must work, we should maintain the spirit of sabbath worship in our hearts as much as possible.

The Lord has said that we may receive great spiritual anad temporal blessings if we keep the sabbath day with thanksgiving and cheerful hearts. “The fullness of the earth is yours, ...whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards” (D&C59:15). Like tithing and the other commandments, keeping the sabbath day is a way to be apart from the world, a way to act in faith, a way to invite the blessings of the creator into our lives.

“God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it...and he rested on the seventh day from all his work...” (Genesis 2:2-3). May we seek the blessings of the creator by respecting this ancient tradition. Keeping the sabbath day is an act of faith, and every time you act in faith, your ability to have the spirit with you increases.

Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

 1 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished...
And God blessed the seventh day,
and sanctified it:
because that in it he had rested from all his work...” Genesis 2:1-3)

 2 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” Exodus 20:8).

3 “Blessed is the man... that keepeth the sabbath...” (Isaiah 56:1-8).

 4 “...the people of Nephi... observed to keep the law of Moses and the sabbath day holy unto the Lord...” (Jarom 1:5)

 5 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

 6 “parents... teach them... the doctrine of
and faith in Christ the Son of the living God,
and baptism
and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands...
...and teach their children to pray,
and to walk uprightly before the Lord....
And... observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (D&C 68:15-19).

7 “ more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world,
go to the house of prayer
and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day...
rest from your labors, thy devotions unto the Most High;
...thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
But remember that on this, the Lord’s day,
thou shalt offer thine oblations
and thy sacraments unto the Most High,
confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord” (D&C 59:9-12).
   And on this day thou shalt do none other thing,
only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart
that thy fasting may be perfect,
or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.
   Verily, this is fasting and prayer,
or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.
   And inasmuch as ye do these things
with athanksgiving,
and with cheerful hearts...
the afulness of the earth is yours...” (D&C 59:9-16)
“Call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable” (Isaiah 58:13)

attend church meetings
read scriptures
visit the sick, the aged, our family
listen to good music
church service
family history
share testimonies
write letters to family
fast for a purpose
family time

Hymn 280
Welcome, welcome, Sabbath morning;
Now we rest from every care,
Welcome, welcome is thy dawning,
Holy Sabbath, day of prayer.

Loving teachers kindly greet us
As we meet in Sunday School,
Where they labor hard to teach us
By the Savior’s golden rule.

Welcome, welcome, Sabbath morning;
Now we rest from every care,
Welcome, welcome is thy dawning,
Holy Sabbath, day of prayer.