As I leave my apartment each Sunday morning to head to church, I’m struck by how quiet the neighborhood is. Weekdays bring the hustle and bustle of a community rushing separate ways to work and school. On Friday and Saturday nights the restaurants and bars on my street are packed (and parking is extremely frustrating). But Sunday mornings are different.
For some, Sunday is different because it’s the last sleep-in day before a long week of work or study. For other people, it’s different because they understand that God created it to be so.
The pattern began thousands of years ago when God created the earth. In the book of Exodus we learn that God labored for six days to form the earth and everything on it, but on the seventh day he rested — “wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:11). As a Mormon, I also hallow one day each week — Sunday.
Growing up, Sunday was largely about dos and don’ts. Going to the movies and playing at friends’ houses were both don’ts. Attending church and spending quality time with my family (board games and popcorn happened frequently) were definite dos. I appreciate my parents’ efforts to set aside the Sabbath as a holy day, but as I’ve grown up I’ve realized the day is about far more than what I can or can’t do. Ideally, the whole day should be filled with worship to God through prayer, meditation, and study of the scriptures and teachings of modern prophets. Additionally, we can participate in activities patterned after Christ’s behaviors — like visiting a sick friend or serving a neighbor in need.
I still have moments where I think about the don’ts. For example, I abstain from shopping on Sunday, which proves difficult when I’m cooking dinner and I realize I’m missing a seemingly essential ingredient. But overall, I find great peace in dedicating the Sabbath as a day reserved for holy activities. It is a day sanctified by God for his followers; we are blessed by Him when we treat it as such.