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Sabbath keepers

Readers write in about Sabbath practices and cherished memories


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I love WORLD readers. A couple of columns ago, I shared that I’ve been taking the Sabbath more seriously, and invited you to email me about your own Sabbath practices. As subscribers John and Peggy Dehoog put it: “OK, you asked, we respond.” In fact, so many of you responded that there isn’t space to excerpt all your letters so, alas, I have to content myself with just a few.

But first, an overview: While I heard from many steadfast Sabbatarians, several readers wrote to say they felt challenged to be more intentional about remembering the Lord’s Day. One reader suggested I was being legalistic in saying Sunday is the Sabbath. Instead, he wrote, Christian liberty dictates we should take a Sabbath, whatever that looks like for the individual believer. Several readers said Friday evening to Saturday evening is still the true Sabbath, and that Scripture ­provides no warrant for the change to Sunday.

The controversy over when we should observe the Sabbath sent me scurrying to my Bible, the internet, and certain theologians I keep on speed-dial. I will not take up space arguing a point that fills whole books, but say only that after going all Berean on the issue, I have made up my mind.

Nancy in Washington state is a Sunday Sabbath keeper: “One thing I enjoy doing Sundays is going over memories. That box of old pictures, old home movies, journals written by my relatives, my husband’s briefcase … the things people say they’ll go through ‘someday.’ They remind me of what a blessed journey God is leading me on.”

While growing up, Stacey Campins wrote, her family went to church twice on Sundays. Between services, “we thought we were generally taught to be ‘bored’ on the Lord’s Day … the TV was silent and my bike was sitting lonely in the garage. … Seemingly endless unscheduled time would force me to wander or sit outside in the sun and take in what was going on in the yard. I, too, developed a love and marvel for God’s creation. At a young age I already could identify every plant and flower in my dad’s garden. I watched ants build their bubbled homes in cement cracks. I chased killdeer in the field to search for their nests.”

I can relate to that. On Sundays as a kid, I would climb a tree and pulley up books to keep me company, using a pillowcase and a rope. Granted, it wasn’t a Sabbath, since I would be a heathen for decades to come. But Psalm 139 says the Lord knew me even then.

Pamela Coleman of Houston, Texas, says it was a book that triggered her Sabbath observance 30 years ago: “I read No Ordinary Home by Carol Bravo, encouraging me to finish up household chores on Saturday so that Sunday could be a day of worship and rest. … I don’t make the beds on Sunday mornings, knowing that I’m going to get right back in mine after church.” It’s her one nap of the week.

Chip Hartzell, 78, says his father was a strict Sabbatarian, who worked a second job during the Korean War. An order for airplane parts had to be filled and shipped and “after much pressure my dad worked a Saturday and Sunday to fill the order. The next Sunday he went forward and confessed his sin and gave everything he made those days to the church. While I don’t agree that his action was sin, it was a wonderful lesson on integrity.”

Here’s a lesson on marriage: John and Peggy Dehoog have been married 62 years and play Scrabble each Sunday afternoon. One recent game-day conversation:

Peggy: What do you look forward to in heaven?

John: Scrabble.

Peggy: Why?

John: Smaller dictionary.

Peggy: Explain, please.

John: In the NHV (New Heaven Version), all the bad words will be removed.

Peggy: It will be the same size as now. Lots of new words … all about heaven.

Then Peggy placed XI and covered a triple. I vote that the Dehoogs dub that time their “Scrabbeth.”


Lynn Vincent

Lynn is executive editor of WORLD Magazine and producer/host of the true crime podcast Lawless. She is the New York Times best-selling author or co-author of a dozen nonfiction books, including Same Kind of Different As Me and Indianapolis. Lynn lives in the mountains east of San Diego, Calif.

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