For believers involved in any sort of church ministry, Sundays can quickly become the busiest day of the week. Even for those who simply gather together to worship and to minister through fellowship two or more times on Sunday, worship, rest, and reflection are often overshadowed by the hectic pace of the day.
Although we no longer observe the Sabbath as the Old Testament Israelites did, we do recognize Sunday as the Lord’s Day–the day set aside for worship and rest. We realized early on that in our home, there could be a tendency for a hectic pace to translate into a frenzied, cluttered pace within our souls, as well. How sad it would be, if on the special day, our souls are the most busy. And as God brings children into our home, we want them to see our emphasis on Sunday as a day of worship, ministry, rest, and reflection. But if we want it to be this way, we will have to do certain things on purpose.
Here are some things that we are practicing in order to preserve the sacredness of our Sundays:
1. Plan and Prepare the Meal Well in Advance
This may mean just throwing a roast in the crockpot, or it may mean making a double meal earlier in the week. Being able to come home to an almost ready meal makes a huge difference in the pace of things on Sunday.
2. Use Disposable
Since we don’t have a dishwasher, this is a huge help when we have guests. We don’t usually do this when it’s just the two of us, but having a clean kitchen on Sundays also helps provide for a more relaxed atmosphere. (On the same note, if you’re invited over elsewhere, you could ask if you could bring disposable plates and utensils. I had a friend do this for me once, and it left a memorable impression, particularly because her purpose was to preserve Sunday’s worshipful, restful atmosphere.)
3. Make Sure The Home Is Clean Before Sunday Morning Arrives
Particularly for me, this means making sure the dishes are entirely caught up, the table is clean, and laundry is all caught up. A clean kitchen makes me happy. 😉 (Of course, if you do have a dishwasher, you could just hide everything in there. 😉 ).
4. Don’t Stay out or up Late the Night before
This can also aid with #3. We’re firm believers that getting a good night’s sleep (though we realize some people just require a lot less) can help in many areas. A late night makes it hard to get up early on Sunday mornings, and sleeping till the last minute or falling asleep in church kind of defeats the purpose.
5. Prepare Needed Items in Advance
Clothes, Bibles, Tithe and Offerings, Resources. Don’t wait until the last minute–lay it out (or at least plan it) the night before. Put your tithe/offering inside the front of your Bible.
6. Prepare Our Hearts in Advance
It takes work and forethought to do all of this; but making anything special requires hard work. When we as a family realize the effort we’re putting into making Sunday special, it will serve as a constant reminder that we consider Sunday a special day.
Traditions that Teach
Having a regular Sunday preparation routine will emphasize the importance of Sundays; and if you have children, you can create many fond memories to look back on. Memories, hopefully, that will remind them of God, worship, and why Sunday is important.
A tradition that we are working on establishing is to get the house cleaned and work caught by Saturday afternoon and then make challah together as a family. (Challah is a Jewish bread eaten on the Sabbath and holiday; we want to use it to remind us of the “sweetness” of Sundays.) Tammy has an excellent recipe here. (Even if you don’t do this as a tradition, it is amazingly yummy!) Here’s a picture of our first attempt (We LOVE it!!!):
If you don’t have a “prepare for Sunday plan,” I highly recommend trying something like this for one week. The blessings and feelings of rest will be worth it. If you do have a “Sunday plan” or things you do to prepare, I’d love to hear other ideas on what things your family does to prepare for the Lord’s Day!
If you’re just skimming over this or aren’t familiar with our family’s understanding of Scripture, you might consider suggesting that we just stay home on Sundays or just get together with another family. However, we believe the Scripture very clearly teaches that being part of a body of believers–the church (not the building, but the institution)–is necessary. And while the Bible doesn’t mandate that the local church hold 3 Sunday services and 1 midweek service, that is when most local churches assemble together.