Sunday, June 6, 2010


There's a certain serenity to Sundays. You know when a day is so calm and clear and you just feel holy and you think, "It feels like Sunday"? I love that Sunday comes before Monday, that you get two days of "weekend play" and then there's a day of consecration before putting your hand to the plow again on Monday.

I made a commitment a long time ago to not do certain things on Sundays (like watch TV, do homework, etc.) that for me are personal decisions; how I choose to keep the Sabbath day.
No, God will not smite me for watching a non-church movie on Sunday, nor will I fail classes if I chose to do homework, nor should I be the judge for anyone else about what they should or should not do on Sunday. I just know that as I continue through my journey of mortal life, I get heavy. And having a day of rest--true rest--is paramount. For me.

An illustration:

My freshman year at BYU I made it into Concert Choir. This was a special year for Concert Choir: it was the first and last time (to date) that they were invited to go on tour. We didn't get to go to South Africa or Ireland (like the smaller group, University Singers, did). No, we got a 3 night, 4 day all expenses paid bus trip to the Pacific Northwest (e.g. Portland, OR, and Vancouver, Washington).

There were some wonderful moments during this trip, including singing at the Portland temple groups and watching a blind middle schooler sing his heart out while our choir shed silent tears. There were great acoustics, bright lights, and funny moments. But what I remember most happened the Sunday we drove back to Provo. The whole trip we stayed with host families who graciously provided us with meals and a place to sleep. My host family the last night happened to be LDS, and since they knew the next day was the Sabbath, they made sure to pack a large sack lunch for my travel.

The buses left after breakfast. I spent the day chatting with fellow choir members, singing hymns, trying to make a dent in Lectures on Faith. Around 5 p.m. (about 4 hours from our destination), the buses stopped and Sister Hall announced that we would be eating at Golden Corral for dinner. I was confused--wasn't it Sunday? Didn't we all have food from our host families? Everyone unloaded and gathered for a prayer. My unease remained. As we walked inside the restaurant, I can still see the plates stacked and the feeling I got when I reached out for one: this did not feel like Sunday. I put the plate down and went back to the bus.

As I boarded I noticed several other people quietly seating, reading scriptures or trying to sleep. These peers were not making bold declarations of "holier than thou how dare you break the Sabbath"; they just sat in the peace that I felt stronger and stronger as I made my way to my seat. Thickness caught in my throat and my eyes filled with unexpected tears. The Lord's outpouring of love surprised me. He had seen my little sacrifice (after all, I still had food--I'm sure many others on the trip did not, and regardless, Sundays on the road can be seen as ox-in-the-mire moments for sure) and He wanted me to know it.

Only later as a missionary did I come across this scripture in Isaiah about the Sabbath day:

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.

That is exactly what I experienced on the bus in 2002: being fed with the "heritage of Jacob", which to me was so much more filling than any buffet, even Golden Corral, could hope to be.