No, really, I think Jewish people have it easier than I do in some ways, because so many rules are spelled out exactly for them. Not that I know anything about actually being Jewish. And I'm so anxious to talk about things I know nothing about. (Looks like I'm tempting fate with the possibility of being called a racist again. Because that was so much fun last week.) But from what I know, at least the very orthodox observers have extremely detailed rules for things they can and can not do on the Sabbath.
Mormons, on the other hand, are expected to study what limited guidance is out there, pray about it, and do what seems like the right thing. Which as you may imagine, results in every home having a slightly different idea about what it means to observe the Sabbath, and what activities are OK.
When I was younger, you know... back when I knew EVERYTHING... I thought that an ideal Sabbath day would consist of church, service, and family time. It would be enlightening discussions about the gospel, and visits to the elderly or the sick. And always it would include a large Sunday dinner, complete with homemade rolls and the good china.
Ahh, the dreams of youth. Every now and then I try to do that big Sunday dinner with a minimum of work.
(Hey, I can hear you laughing all the way over here.)
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong. Whatever.
This year, we're on the late schedule at church. Since there are 3 congregations that use our building, we rotate schedules at the beginning of each year. In other words, the same schedule comes around every 3 years. And yet, for some reason, every time we change schedules, my family is faced with the dilemma of rearranging and re-figuring our Sabbath activities and standards. (Oh, please - don't start rolling your eyes and telling me that the Sabbath should be the same no matter what time you go to church. You know you do the same thing.)
Though my personal preference is for the earliest time, the latest one is really the easiest to figure out, as far as practicality.
Sleeping of course, is an approved Sabbath day activity (you know, that whole "day of rest" thing), and my teenagers will normally sleep in until late in the morning.
But then what? It's still hours before the kids have to go anywhere, which makes it hard to find a pressing reason for them to get up and get dressed.
With The Brain and I in and out all morning for various church meetings, we can almost always count on our kids to have themselves ready for church on time... But not One. Minute. Earlier.
Can you imagine any other day of the week where you might not even get dressed until early afternoon?
I always feel a little bit sorry for the 12 year old deacon who comes to our door collecting our fast-offerings every month... having to get all dressed up in a suit and tie, just to ring our doorbell AT NOON and be met with morning breath and bed-head-hair. But I'm sure it makes for some good stories during their quorum meetings. And if we can't provide the ward with a little something to laugh at every now and then, well, I guess we aren't doing our job to sacrifice for the kingdom. (Was sacrificing our dignity part of the deal?)
The point is, I think the late schedule is somehow easier to keep the Sabbath because there seem to be less options.
The early schedule gives us too much opportunity for downfall. Once we're home (before noon), we've got nothing but time, baby. And energy. And there are ballgames on tv. And friends on the phone. And all that time reminds us that there is homework that could be done, video games to play, cartoons to be watched, and a hundred other things that are perfectly fine 6 days a week, but (at least for our family) don't fall under the category of keeping the Sabbath day holy.
If Moses had lived in this day in age, do you think he would be as tempted as I am to watch The Unit on Sunday nights?
Yeah, me neither.