While everyone is experiencing changes to their daily lives, including Sabbath, we have had the chance to experience Sabbath like never before. With so many opportunities for activities and fellowship in our church, Sabbath had become more of an agenda than a day of rest.
We have seen some positives in the way that we spend Sabbath during this quarantine period. Instead of spending Sabbath morning focusing on being ready and at church on time, we now experience true Sabbath rest and peace. We have been able to select different church services to “attend” each week. Often, we find ourselves engaging in more than one church service on Sabbath. Technology and free time have allowed us to reconnect with family members all over the country.
While some of the changes are positive, being able to physically engage with our church family and community is important. When things are back to normal, we would love to see our Sabbaths be more of a happy medium between pre-quarantine and quarantine Sabbaths.
Zach and RaeLea Frishman are members of the Chapel Oaks Church in Shawnee, Kansas.
We all know the story of creation, where God rested on the Sabbath day. However, as long as I’ve been alive, Sabbath has been less than restful. With all its worship processions, traditions and dinners which follow—not to mention Adult Youth and vespers services—Sabbath can be quite tiring, and normally Sunday becomes more of a day of rest for the Livingston family. As COVID-19 appeared as a curse to the world, the stay-at-home order which followed became a blessing.
Before quarantine, I was a deaconess, an assistant Sabbath school teacher, the communication director and a singer in the praise team while my husband worked the A/V. During church, my husband, children and I rarely sat together as a family.
During quarantine, we sleep longer as we recover from the workweek and schooldays. We have time to eat freshly baked biscuits with eggs and Morning Star bacon for breakfast.
As far as services go, we have our pick. As my children watch and interact with children’s church on Anthony Hachett’s Facebook page, Jeff and I catch various services broadcast on Facebook. Later in the day, we watch movies and play board games together. Then we end the day with a walk around our neighborhood. In conclusion, Sabbaths in quarantine have been quite rejuvenating.
Cheryce Livingston is a member of the Palace of Peace Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The pandemic broke my routine. I resented being unable to eat out, attend a sporting event, or shop at the local mall. And on Sabbath, I regretted not being able to attend Sabbath school or church services, though for me they had become fairly routine.
God knew my priorities needed a good spring cleaning. As I reluctantly adjusted to my new stay-at-home reality, I realized how much I valued fellowship with other believers.
When we convened our Sabbath school class online, I taught the lesson using the awkward, duct-taped solution of video conferencing, knowing that where two or three were gathered—even virtually—Jesus would be with us. I also knew that once we had progressed through the initial phases of the pandemic, I would appreciate the Sabbath as a butterfly must feel when it first stretches its wings after a lengthy transition inside its dark cocoon.
Duane Hallock is a member of the New Haven Church in Overland Park, Kansas.
I work from home providing daycare for two young children, so my daily routine is not much disrupted. But the social distancing is very hard—not being able to reach out and hug those we love!
On Sabbaths I watch VHS tapes and DVDs from past camp meetings, so I can still spend the day with the Lord. I play the piano and sing, and I have pictures of Jesus all over my house that I have painted. But it is quite strange not to teach Sabbath school or have potluck.
In a small church we become family and we all miss each other and keep in touch by phone, especially on Sabbath afternoons. I was able to call in by phone and listen to a live church service last Sabbath.
I know the Lord knows what He is doing and He is watching over us. I find a brand new blessing every day—I call them hugs from God. I wish everyone experienced that joy.
Karin Nelson is a member of the Albert Lea Church in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Since having my full Sabbath in my home—specifically in my room in my PJs—I have learned quite quickly how privileged we are to worship and praise the living God freely. It’s something I took for granted before.
Being quarantined at home during the Sabbath has been reflective. I am learning to dive deeper. You have to grow in private to be ready in public.
I’m also learning what worship looks like for me, while becoming more free with what my posture of worship is, knowing that whether or not it is pleasing to others, it is pleasing to God.
Tebuho Kabambe is a member of the Minneapolis First Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stay-at-home Sabbaths look familiar to us. Our Sabbaths are spent in the abundant nature that surrounds us in southwest Colorado. Snowshoeing, hiking and horseback riding are all available for our “church.”
We hiked 10 miles last week without seeing anyone. As we hiked the familiar creekside trail at New Beginnings Ranch where we have guided outings for so many people, we found our minds going to all the times God has cared for us. There was the lightning strike, the nearby forest fires, the “lost” dog, the multitude of Union College IRR students who have survived three days alone here, the simple fact that NBR received approval for a special use permit, and the weddings, baptisms and campfire sharing times.
All these mini-miracles speak of a personal God who cares and will not leave us alone during this crisis. Happy Sabbath!
Karen and DuWayne Carlson are members of the College View Church in Lincoln, Nebraska who now live in Delta, Colorado.