Sunday, August 19, 2007

RS Lesson 16 The Sabbath—A Delight

I thought I would post my lesson for RS this week. We actually had a lesson on the Sabbath about two months ago and I noticed that there was a great amount of guilt among the women regarding their Sunday habits. Almost every woman who commented that day prefaced her words with "well, I'm not very good at helping my family keep the Sabbath, but some things we do are..." It seemed like everyone thought that somewhere out in the world there is a perfect mormon family where the kids get up peacefully for church each Sunday and then spend their day singing appropriate songs and reading the scriptures, and they felt incredibly guilty that it wasn't them. I'm hoping to avoid that feeling of guilt in my lesson.

Begin by reading:

Isaiah 58: 13 and 14

13 ¶ If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Is there a contradiction when Isaiah tells us to refrain "from doing thy pleasure" on Sunday and also tells us that the Sabbath should be a "delight?"

Read the following quote from the SWK manual:

The Sabbath day is given throughout the generations of man for a perpetual covenant [see Exodus 31:16]. It is a sign between the Lord and his children forever [see Exodus 31:17]. It is a day in which to worship and to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Lord. It is a day on which to surrender every worldly interest and to praise the Lord humbly, for humility is the beginning of exaltation. It is a day not for affliction and burden but for rest and righteous enjoyment. It is a day not for lavish banqueting, but a day of simple meals and spiritual feasting. … It is a day graciously given us by our Heavenly Father. It is a day when animals may be turned out to graze and rest; when the plow may be stored in the barn and other machinery cooled down; a day when employer and employee, master and servant may be free from plowing, digging, toiling. It is a day when the office may be locked and business postponed, and troubles forgotten; a day when man may be temporarily released from that first injunction, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return unto the ground. …” [See Genesis 3:19.] It is a day when bodies may rest, minds relax, and spirits grow. It is a day when songs may be sung, prayers offered, sermons preached, and testimonies borne, and when man may climb high, almost annihilating time, space, and distance between himself and his Creator.

What does it mean that "It is a day not for affliction and burden but for rest and righteous enjoyment?"

Explain that today we are not going to wallow in guilt for what have or have not been doing to keep the Sabbath Day holy. Instead we are going to look to the future and come up with some concrete ideas for making our Sundays a delight.

Before we can make our Sunday s a delight unto us, we need to know what the purpose of Sunday is .

Have a class member read the following statement by Elder James E. Faust, who was at the time a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Why has God asked us to honor the Sabbath day? The reasons I think are at least threefold. The first has to do with the physical need for rest and renewing. Obviously God, who created us, would know more than we do of the limits of our physical and nervous energy and strength.”

Write Physical renewal in the top left corner of the chalkboard. Then have a second class member continue with Elder Faust’s statement:

“The second reason is, in my opinion, of far greater significance. It has to do with the need for regeneration and the strengthening of our spiritual being. God knows that left completely to our own devices without regular reminders of our spiritual needs, many would degenerate into the preoccupation of satisfying earthly desires and appetites. This need for physical, mental, and spiritual regeneration is met in large measure by faithful observance of the Sabbath day.”

To the right of Physical renewal, write Spiritual strength.

  • • Why is the blessing of spiritual strength more important than the blessing of physical rest and renewal?

Have a third class member read the rest of Elder Faust’s statement:

“The third reason [for honoring the Sabbath day] may be the most important of the three. It has to do with obedience to commandments as an expression of our love for God. Blessed are those who need no reasons other than their love for the Savior to keep his commandments” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 46–47; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 35).

To the right of Spiritual strength, write Love for God.

  • • How is reverent observance of the Sabbath day “an expression of our love for God”? Why might this be the most important reason for honoring the Sabbath?

So basically, we need to make sure our Sunday activities fall under one of these three headings.

Read Quote by Pres Hinckley

The Lord wrote concerning the sanctity of the Sabbath when His finger touched the tablets of stone on Sinai: Keep the Sabbath day holy. And that commandment has been reiterated in modern times as set forth in the fifty-ninth section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Let us be a Sabbath-keeping people. Now I do not want to be prudish. I do not want you to lock your children in the house and read the Bible all afternoon to them. Be wise. Be careful. But make that day a day when you can sit down with your families and talk about sacred and good things. "Keep the Sabbath holy," saith the Lord to all people and particularly to this people. (Smithfield/Logan Utah Regional Conference, priesthood leadership session, April 20, 1996.)

Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 559 – 560.)

Divide women into three groups. Give each group a sheet of butcher paper or a poster. Assign one group to come up with specific ideas of activities that can be done with young children to help them keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Assign a second group to come up with ideas for teenagers.

Assign a third group to come up with ideas for how to make their own Sabbath days a delight.

Give the groups as long as they need to come up with substantial lists. Then bring the groups back together and have them share their ideas.