Have you been in a church meeting where a general authority leads an open discussion or a question and answer session? It seems to be a growing occurrence, and oh, I love it! I went to a fantastic one with Julie Beck several years ago. I experienced my second this weekend during the adult session of our stake conference. The sweet and hilarious Elder Falabella of the Quorum of the Seventy led a discussion on Sabbath day observance. He asked WHY the church was emphasizing the topic of keeping the Sabbath day holy. One woman stood and shared that she had been impressed that observing the Sabbath would be our equivalent to the Hebrews painting the lamb’s blood on their doors. Elder Falabella commended her for receiving this special piece of revelation, and later said that the brethren are concerned with what the future holds, and they have learned that this one thing can bring us closer to Christ. He also said that obeying this commandment could help us better obey all the other commandments. He then asked, “What have you learned by keeping the Sabbath day holy?”
My thoughts whirled. What have I learned? Am I really doing a very good job with it, anyway? What is MY “why” for keeping the Sabbath Day holy?
I learned this year to have an ongoing question for the Lord. Narrowing it down to one is tough for me! Sometimes I move on to my next question without the previous one being answered, and then I receive an answer, later, when the question is not even forefront in my mind.
The places where I receive answers all have similar characteristics: they are quiet, I am usually alone, and it’s a situation where my mind isn’t particularly focused on the task at hand for at least a short period of time. These places have included:
-driving in a silent car (it is always quiet when I drive alone; when I’m with my kids there is usually an audiobook playing)
-in the shower or blow drying my hair
-in the temple
-in quiet morning or evening moments
Just recently I discovered another sacred, quiet space where there may be enough time to get your mind in the right place for revelation. That place is in the chapel during the administration of the sacrament. How peaceful and quiet you can be during the sacrament is not always in your control and varies greatly from week to week, depending on the cooperation of the children. What a great way to honor the Sabbath, by attending church so you can partake of the sacrament with the intent to renew covenants and perhaps receive communication from the Father. There is nothing quite like it.
As I further pondered, I realized that the entire Sabbath day is designed to bring more of these revelatory opportunities into our lives. We are encouraged to spend time in the scriptures, give service, work on family history (I think our ancestors have things to teach us too!), spend time with family, pray, and work on callings, Many people strive to keep the TV and other screens off, limit computer use, listen only to “church” music, and minimize and simplify the normal household routines that are followed the rest of the week. Each of these “Dos and Don’ts” is designed to create moments of quiet contemplation on the things of the Spirit, where we are most likely to hear and recognize the voice of the Holy Ghost and the answers it brings. Add in fasting, and it’s a recipe for revelation!
This isn’t an original thought, but I had never brought it together in quite this way before. The Sabbath is made for man as a tool to bring us further revelation, light and knowledge, into our lives on a consistent basis. How grateful I am for such a blessing!