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How Can We Keep Sundays Holy?

Updated on January 23, 2013
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Bronwen was a teacher for over forty years. Degrees include School Librarianship, Psycholinguistics and Theology, and Applied Linguistics.

The Fourth Commandment

God did not give us the Ten Commandments - the Decalogue - for His own benefit, but for ours. They are good, vitally important rules that are designed to guide us in the way God intends us to live.

The Fourth Commandment is the longest and it is all about following God's example and resting. It tells us that He created the world in six day and on the seventh day He rested. It was chosen to be a special time and we were told to keep it holy. Sadly, few of us take any notice of that rule these days, and we pay the penalty.

In our increasingly frenetic lives we think we are indispensable and rush around growing more and more stressed and exhausted until we have left ourselves vulnerable to mental and physical diseases. We work, and even our recreation is often more like work, we may even go to church for an hour or so to worship God, but we rarely attempt to keep one whole day in seven entirely holy.

Sunday in the 'Good Old Days'

Thinking back to the 'good old days,' I remember that as children we discovered that even our hens took a day off from laying about once a week. The hens were not so good at counting, so it wasn't always on the seventh day, and they didn't all choose the same day to rest, but rest they did. Sensible hens!

It's the way that God made them, and He made us the same way, too.


Warm Climate Cultures

In warm climates, whole nations used to enjoy a siesta in the middle of the day. Every day shops and businesses, even banks would either close for a couple of hours, or at least the people would have their heads down for a midday nap and did not appreciate being awakened by a customer.

In recent years many shops remain open; a few may still close, but the people continue to work - and to do it for weeks on end. The result, of course, is a decline in their health or they may put on too much weight as they eat to keep awake instead of relaxing. Today many stores and shops are open seven days a week.

If we obeyed God's law and rested, refraining from shopping on one day a week, shop-keepers would have the opportunity to close their doors and rest, too.

Old Ways

Certainly we have advanced in many ways, but the old ways were good. My Grandmother was adamant about the importance of obeying this law of taking Sunday as a day of rest. Mostly we were occupied with attending services and Sunday School or reading books. We thought she went a bit far when she objected to our playing ball-games or knitting, but she knew a thing or two and lived to a grand old age.

Grandmother also insisted that our parents planned ahead far enough so that we had sufficient supplies and did not need to visit shops or do any unnecessary housework on Sundays. For our Jewish and Seventh Day Adventist friends, it was Saturday that they kept holy.

Source

We Can Learn About Rest From Music

Who does not enjoy music of one kind or another? We love it, we go into raptures over it; it speaks to our soul.

As everyone who has ever played an instrument or learned to read music knows, some bars have rests, sometimes quite long ones. The rests are an integral part of the piece. If you've ever played an instrument in an orchestra or a band, you will know what happens if you miscount the beats and don't have the right length of rest: you come in too soon and the result is a dreadful cacophony. The silence is important and says as much to us as the harmony.

Sometimes in our lives we are forced to take time out through sickness or other problems. Then we may learn that the rests are necessary for us to grow spiritually and even thank God for them.

A Day of Rest is a gift from God. Take time to enjoy God's creation, to rest and to spend time with Him. Learn to live in harmony with yourself and the world.


The Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland, looking towards the Pacific Ocean
The Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland, looking towards the Pacific Ocean | Source

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      From my studies of piano, I have learned patience in performance and discipline. Quite interesting how you pointed out the rests that force you to stop. Excellent! I think we all need to slow down and rest more often. Too much stress causes illness. We do keep our Sundays carefree and it is due to pre-planning, as you suggest. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      teaches12345: Yes, the rests are important in contributing to the harmony of our lives. I do agree that too much stress can cause all kinds of problems. How great that you keep a day of rest, it seems to have almost disappeared.

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      mours sshields 5 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      Very good hub! A lot of us need to be reminded. Most

      stores and restaurants in the U.S. are open on Sunday, as

      well. Some people save Sunday's to do their shopping.

      I do look-up to businesses that close on Sunday's.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      mours sshields: Even I need to remind myself sometimes! Then I wonder if I'm being too old-fashioned, but, no, the Commandment is clear and we should observe it. Thank you for your comment.

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      mours sshields 5 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

      Thank-you. I like the picture of the mountains as well. It reminds me a lot of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, in the U.S. My favorite place in the U.S.!!

      Thanks again for your article.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      mours sshields: I haven't been there, but I've seen photos and it looks wonderful.

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      Gusser 5 years ago

      God created the Sabbath Rest at creation time. God santified & made holy the 7th day. THAT is certainly not Sunday.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      That's true, but we Christians celebrate our rest day as the 1st day of the week. That is the day when Jesus, the Messiah who gave His life as a permanent sacrifice for our sins, was raised from the dead.

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      Gusser 5 years ago

      Jesus did not arise on Sunday. When the women arrived at the tomb " very early on the 1st day of the week" he was already arisen.He arose on the Sabbath. Read it in any Bible. Man has NO authority to change Gods Laws or his Sanctified days.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Jesus was crucified on the Friday and rose again on the third day, the Sunday. He did not rise on the Sabbath because that was a holy day of rest. In Genesis 2.3 we read that 'God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested.'

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      Gusser 5 years ago

      Dear Lady, Jesus said he would be in the grave "as Jonah was in the belly of the whale" 3 days AND 3 nights. Did Jesus lie?---Do the math,3 days & 3 nights can't fit with the Good Friday ---Easter Sunday stuff.

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Sorry, could you give me the Gospel, chapter and verse for that quote, please?

      As you can see in Matt. 28.1, Mk 16.2, also in Lk and Jn, very clearly Jesus rose from the dead 'when the sabbath was over...very early on the first day of the week...' i.e. the Sunday, as the Jewish sabbath was - and is - Saturday.

      However, the important point is that Christians celebrate the resurrection, which is why we worship on a Sunday - to give God thanks for the wonderful, generous gift of His Son. This is the New Covenant that supersedes the need for Old Testament continual sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Father God is a God of love, and He allowed that once-only sacrifice of Jesus so the sins of every person who accepts that gift can be forgiven. Without that forgiveness, we cannot be made holy so that we can approach God who is so pure and holy.

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      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I commend your honoring of the sabbath day and commandment. Self-discipline seems the hardest of life's skills to master (though some like my wife have done it from an early age). Next to self=discipline in difficulty is obedience. Self-discipline, once mastered, seems to persist, but obedience seems to remain fragile and subject to the impulsiveness of mortality. Siestas are known to reduce heart disease, and 30-60 minutes is sufficient to reap the benefits. Surely "the world is too much with us, soon and late."

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      The world is too much with us - and too much within us also. It's not easy being in the world but not of it and something that we seem to have to work on all the way along our journey. My Mother was a great one for insisting on a siesta, no matter how brief. Thank you for your comments.

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