As the days stretch before us on these long, hot summers, there is an inevitable temptation to stay indoors–it’s where the air conditioning is! 

In some places where summers are short and days are long, excursions or travel became Sabbath rituals to replace church attendance for these long, hot summer Sabbaths.

Even when summer activities damper your church attendance, you can make your Sabbaths special and unforgettable with these 5 tips.

1. Disconnect with Tech and Connect with… everything else! 

Instead of picking up your smartphone and scrolling social media yet again, check in with those around you! When you say no to technology, you say “yes!” to so many other things. Spend time connecting with friends, family, and neighbors. Take a walk outside and connect with nature. Attend church and connect with your religious tradition.

2. Break Bread with Others

Even if you find yourself taking a day trip on the weekend instead of attending church or spending time with your local community, you can invite others along on your adventures. You can invite someone to your home for a meal, or you can invite someone along for a picnic if you aim to spend your time camping or spending time at a state park. You don’t have to do something fancy–but can even ask your friends and families to bring something small to share! Grab a cooler and fill it up!

3. Worship Together and Alone

Keep worship in your summer routine, but don’t feel pressured to do everything a certain way. Plan an outdoor church service with your local church. Practice communion in the forest and wash feet in a stream. Take time to worship on your own as well, early in the morning, as the sun comes up in the early morning warmth. Take advantage of the longer days to enjoy various forms of worship during the Sabbath hours: hiking, serving your community, gardening, camping, and more.

4. Share Popsicles in the Park

Take your Sabbath School class on an excursion to a community park to share cool drinks or popsicles with strangers. This doesn’t have to be an evangelistic tool at all, but just something kind and fun to do. If you’d like to add an element of worship, invite friends who can sing and play instruments, and make an impromptu outdoor ‘singing’ out of it.

5. Pick Up a Book

Instead of turning the TV on and flipping through channels or planning a family movie night, pick up a book. Take it outside and read around a firepit or turn on your fireplace in the house (even though it’s warm) and enjoy a book together with the family. Make this a monthly tradition and invite friends. Make popcorn and make smoothies or prepare a hot fudge sundae bar.

There are many things you can do to keep Sabbath special during the long days of summer, but they don’t have to be complicated. In the same way, you can do small things to make Christmas special even among the commercialism of the season, you can do small things to make the Sabbaths special for the family during the summer. Include your church. Include your family, friends, and neighbors, or just make it special for yourself.

Leave comments on Facebook with your ideas for keeping the Sabbath special this summer.