Ted: Hello, friends. As we come to the end of another week, what a joy it is to look forward to the Sabbath—a time when God comes to meet with us, wherever we are in the world! It is a universal gift, not limited to any one place, but reaches right around the globe, from sunset to sunset.
Nancy: We especially enjoy Friday evenings at our house. As the sun sets, it seems the warm glow of the Sabbath wraps its arms around us, and we sense an amazing peace settle in. It’s a special Sabbath rest, inviting us to set everything else aside and rest in the Lord.
Ted: During the colder time of year, I like to build a cozy fire in our fireplace and Nancy and I will sit close together, reading or talking, or just enjoying the warmth of the fire. Sometimes we’ll sing hymns while Nancy plays the piano.
Nancy: Growing up, I remember Sabbath, and especially Friday evening, as the most special time of the week. It never felt legalistic. We started cleaning everything on Thursday, and by Friday the house was clean and there were wonderful aromas wafting from the kitchen, signaling special meals were on their way. Every Friday evening and Sabbath was a celebration, with special food, worship, and family time.
And for some reason, on Friday evenings my brothers and I always got the giggles! One time I couldn’t stop laughing. Finally, Daddy stopped reading and gave me the book, asking me to read. I finally was able to stop giggling long enough to finish the reading!
Mother and Daddy were always very supportive of Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy. I heard about the Second Coming of Jesus from a very early age. There was a hope—we knew this world is not our home, we’re just passing through.
Ted: The Sabbath, a gift given to the entire human race at the beginning of time, is a day like no other. We read in Genesis 2:1-3, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work . . . Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
As Seventh-day Adventists, we recognize the seventh day is more than just another day of the week—it is the Sabbath, a fact not so well reflected in the English name of “Saturday,” but the idea comes across beautifully in some other languages, such as Sábado in Spanish, Subbota in Russian, Savvato in modern Greek, and so on.
As you may have experienced, one of the joys of the Sabbath is worshipping together with fellow believers. During this past year, however, it's been challenging to meet in person due to the Coronavirus. While this opened the door for a lot of creativity through electronic worship services using YouTube, Zoom, Facebook and so on, we are thankful that in many places, restrictions are now easing and more churches are open for meeting in person, following local guidelines, of course.
Nancy: The Sabbath is a day for joy, and how important it is that we help our children to experience it joyfully, even when circumstances make it challenging.
Something we enjoyed doing as a family when our children were young, and still enjoy doing today, is going for walks on Sabbath afternoons. Ellen White describes this beautifully. She writes:
". . . parents may take their children outdoors to view God in nature. They can be pointed to the blooming flowers and the opening buds, the lofty trees and beautiful spires of grass, and taught that God made all these in six days and rested on the seventh day and hallowed it. Thus the parents may bind up their lessons of instruction to their children, so that when these children look upon the things of nature, they will call to mind the great Creator of them all. . . . We are not to teach our children that they must not be happy on the Sabbath, that it is wrong to walk out-of-doors. Oh, no. Christ led His disciples out by the lakeside on the Sabbath day and taught them. His sermons on the Sabbath were not always preached within enclosed walls" (Child Guidance, p. 533).
Ted: Wherever we are, God invites us to make the Sabbath a delight--a joyful time of togetherness with Him, a time to remember Him as our Creator and to rest in Him as our Redeemer.
Throughout history, God has always had a people who have worshipped Him on His special day, and we know it will be so through the end of time. Let us enter that joy today, as we say together:
Ted and Nancy: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Ex. 20:8-11).
Ted: May the Lord bless you in a wonderful way as you remember His special day!
Let us pray. Father in heaven, we thank you for instituting at the end of the six days of creation the Sabbath day. A golden clasp that binds us to you as our creator, as our redeemer. A sign of, not only your creative power, but your recreative power, to create in us a new heart every day. Lord, thank you for the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week. Thank you for the beautiful experience of worshiping you, of fellowshipping together and pointing people to heaven. Lord, we look forward to worshiping you on the Sabbath day when you come in heaven and take us to be with you. What an opportunity it will be to actually be in the presence, the physical presence, of the One who created the Sabbath. Thank you for being with us, not only on the Sabbath, but throughout the week. Bless each family, each individual around this globe as we worship you on your holy day, the seventh-day Sabbath. Thank you for hearing us, in Jesus precious name we ask it, amen.