Genesis chapter 2 has always been a puzzle to me. It’s there that we read the story of creation and find that God rested on the 7th day. Why did God rest? Well, I’ve done some studying and found an answer. And this has changed how I view Sabbath rest and how I’ve experienced it myself Sunday to Sunday.
So, did God actually need to rest after creating the whole world? Of course not. The Bible says that God does not slumber or sleep and that He does not grow weary. No, He rested on the 7th day to set an example for us.
God knew that we humans would need to stop and rest so He set the perfect example for us.
John Calvin put it this way: “God cannot either more gently allure, or more effectually incite us to obedience, than by inviting and exhorting us to the imitation of himself.”
The Sabbath being the seventh day also signifies completion. God didn’t rest from being weary, but rested because of the satisfaction of having completed the creation of the world.
Further, we know that God wants us to rest because it is one of the ten commandments He gave to His people in Exodus.
This commandment, however, is not repeated in the New Testament as the others are. So, what does that mean for us today?
I believe it means that we should still recognize the Sabbath as a day of rest, making it set apart and unlike the other days of our week even though we are not directly commanded to do so.
Setting apart the day is simply done by going to church! That alone separates Sunday from the rest of your busy week. I think, however, we should go much further than just waking up early enough to make it to church on time.
Taking time on Sundays from your regular work should give you time for other things. Perhaps it is reading a book or practicing a hobby. Maybe it is taking a nap in the afternoon. Or, maybe it is hosting a group of people for lunch in between services.
What? How can hosting people be a form of rest and, even more, Sabbath rest? Well, I’m so glad you asked.
In my years as a homemaker (almost 9!)I have found that it is, indeed, a lot of work to host people! But the best way I’ve found to rest IS to host people. The most restful and refreshing Sunday afternoons I’ve ever had have been the ones where we are hosting over 10 people, many of whom were children.
With the right preparation, hosting people on Sunday afternoon can change from a chore to a cherished time of restful fellowship. But that is the key I’ve found, you have to make it part of your rhythm as a homemaker. Yes, there are shortcuts you can make to get it all done on the day before, but living your week with the Sabbath in mind will make it so much easier to host friends for the meal.
I am not perfect at this, but here’s how I strive to make that happen.
Weekly Preparation for Sunday
Who said it, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” I’m not sure of the author, but they were right! You have to have a plan in place in order for hosting people on Sunday afternoon to go well.
Mine actually starts on Wednesday with my weekly grocery order. Here in Oxford, it’s actually easier for me to get all my groceries delivered once a week than make a trek out of the city to the storefront itself. So each week I make a meal plan for what to have throughout the week (you can read more about meal planning here). In this meal plan, I make sure to pick a meal for Sunday that is either simple or easy to make ahead. This is the first step to having a plan for that Sunday afternoon Sabbath rest around the table.
One of my favorite things to make for Sunday lunch is chicken salad and croissants. I do buy the croissants pre-made here in England (they are even made with only French butter!), however I would like to try making my own sourdough croissants one day!
But this meal is a great example of the kind to plan for Sunday lunch. You can roast the chicken ahead of time, mix it all up, and have it ready along with a few sides in the fridge. Just pop it in the croissants and you’re good to go!
And that’s all because you took a few minutes in the middle of your week to plan for the rest. This would be a good time to encourage you not to go grocery shopping on the weekend. It’s not enough time to get it all done! So pick a day during the week and plan out your meals, especially for Sunday, before you get your goods.
Keeping the house clean is another way to prepare for Sabbath guests. I like to do fewer chores throughout the week instead of saving it all for Friday night. If you’re like me, you’d like this printable chart I made specially for assigning chores to certain days. By keeping a routine of cleaning something each day, it won’t pile up to the end of the week and need a huge overhaul before guests come over.
Set Aside Saturday
In order for the Sunday lunch to run smoothly, you’ve got to carve out a bit of food-prep time on Saturday. Depending on what meal you’ve planned to make, it could only be an hour or so before bed time to start the slow cooker or mix up a cucumber salad. Maybe you want to bake your own croissants as I would one day and you take all of Saturday morning to do that. Find what works with your schedule and go for it.
Unless we are going out for the day as a family, I do not plan to do a lot on Saturdays other than be around the house and preparing for Sunday. Making Saturday a slow day is so helpful for a successful Sunday. And not just for hosting people on a Sunday but also for just getting out the door on time in the morning to make it to church!
Setting aside your whole Saturday may be hard though, so committing to just a few hours of food-prep is a good first step. Make sure to plan for meals that you can prep the night before so that all you need to do on a Sunday is pull it out and re-heat or serve it right away.
So, you’ve got your meal plan, you’ve cleaned your house, and you’ve set aside the time you need on Saturday to have food prepared. Now, who is coming?!
Well, maybe you need some help deciding who to invite or maybe not. But here are three questions I ask myself when wondering who to invite over for Sunday lunch: “Who is new at church?” “Who has traveled far and may need a place to be for the afternoon?” and “Who have I not talked to in a while?” If they are the answer to any one or all of these questions, I’d say they are a good person to invite over to your house! I like to send a text message ahead of time if I know who we are inviting. Some weeks I don’t get around to this so I prepare the food anyway and then we invite someone on the morning at church. And, yes, I always prepare a bit of extra food in case we feel the need to invite some more people at the last-minute.
Your Sunday Sabbath Rest
With all of these steps and tips I’ve shared, you are ready to host for your next Sabbath rest! So, who will you invite? I hope that this post will give you the courage and confidence to share your time, home, and life with fellow believers through a meal together on Sunday. Let me know how it goes in a comment! I’d love to hear what you decide to do.
And, to help you even further, subscribe for my blog emails where I share a Sunday Lunch meal plan every Friday morning in preparation for the Sabbath together.