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What Time is Sunset? — 29 Comments

  1. Too many of us fail to think about Sabbath beyond the couple of hours that we spend in church, and given that we sleep for about 8 hours of the Sabbath that leaves 14 hours to be occupied by something called "Sabbath rest". That is a long time to fill in, and we need to do something rather special if we want the day to be special. Children seem to have no problem filling in time but the trouble is that adults are continually admonishing them to "behave on Sabbath"

    Here are a couple of ideas:

    1)The Jews open Sabbath with a special meal. When our kids lived at home we always had candles on the table for the opening Sabbath meal. In fact is was one of the few meals that we sat at the table for. As often as possible we used to have something special for the opening Sabbath meal. I used to cook Bagels on Friday afternoon and we used to love their chewy softness.

    2) Most of my friends are academics and once a month we have a pot luck lunch after the church service that typically lasts most of the afternoon. It is great to hear historians, theologians, scientists, and men of literature discussing the issues that challenge and frustrate us. I always go home from these meals with a sense of intellectual contentment from these interchanges.

    One of the serious issues that we need to address is that often our view of Sabbath is the protestant view of Sunday, on a different day. We need to see the Sabbath as something much more than that.

  2. I don't know that I have any thing special to suggest doing on the Sabbath, I read a lot, and wanting the Sabbath to end is not a concern of mine I enjoy the Sabbath hours. However Bro Earnhardt your article was very inspiring for me on keeping the Sabbath.

    I also enjoy all of your readings.
    May God continue to bless you.

    • Thanks for all of your Christ-inspired insight into Sabbath-keeping.
      I gather that, "Waiting on the Lord," during Sabbath hours, and throughout our lives (as did Job), calls the advent Christian to "occupy" - to remain engaged with the work of readying heart and household, meeting the varied needs of others, "where they are" - rather than doing the proverbial time-keeping that is often required by one other than the race-runner or winner.
      May we keep our eyes on the prize, ever watching/living triumphantly, through Him who is our only perfect example.

  3. I am exhausted on a Sabbath why because my Sabbaths feel like work. I am officer of the church and there are so many complaints from persons and things to get done by the time the Sabbath has ended you are asking the question What time is sunset.

    • Kayon, in all my years of being a Bible Worker, lay pastor and Elder, we have always told people to share their problems during the week. Sabbath is not the time to be complaining. It is not good for them or for you. As a matter of fact in one church I stopped bringing my office key to church because people would always come up to me during Sabbath School and say they needed in the office for such and such. I told them I don't bring my keys to church. They asked why. I told them, because when I do people get me out of my Sabbath School class to do office work. After giving me the deer in the headlights look they finally got it.

    • I understand your issue Kayon. I used to be the visuals person in a large church, and being a creative type I was not satisfied with just putting up the words but made Sabbath an expression of worship. It took a lot of work and there were times that I did feel tired as a result. On the other hand, it was a special Sabbath activity and preparing for it and presenting the visuals on Sabbath contributed to my and other people's enjoyment of the day and added to its meaningfulness. While I would end up tired by Sabbath afternoon, it was refreshing mentally because it was something different to what I was doing the rest of the week. Now I have been deemed too old to contribute and have had to find other ways to share my creativity. That has been both challenging and rewarding as well, but it has left a big hole in my Sabbath activities.

    • Hi Kayon.

      Getting things done for our church also feels like too much work sometimes. After a long Sabbath morning and afternoon doing all I can to make sure everything I can do for others, I did do, can leave me drained. When I notice this feeling in me, is when I spend a short time in prayer, and I think about my God who never rests, who is always working to defeat Satan and to love and save us. I feel reenergised and refreshed after I tell Him that all I did today was for Him. What he does for me, is because of love, and I do it for Him because I love too.

      Sometimes people are hard to work with and hard to love. I think I have it tough sometimes, then I spend just a little time with Him, and think of how hard and obstinate and perverse and headstrong I have been to Him in my life, and all I got in return was love. Then any little struggle I might have fades away. I think of how hard God must be finding it to work with others, as he had and still does for me, then when I pray again it is to ask God to help me to find a way to work with Him in reaching them.

      I cannot say if it is the short break for prayer to dedicate my work to Him, or the consideration that my trials are as nothing compared to His, or the prayer for others or the prayer that I can find a way to reach others for Him, but that always leaves me refreshed in mind, and my tiredness is now only physical, not mental any more. Sometimes I even feel my physical tiredness fade away.

      When I pray and dedicate my efforts to Him, He somehow takes my troubles on Himself, and gives me His peace.

      What you find tiring or difficult may well be very different from my struggles, but try dedicating your work for Him, to Him in prayer every time you feel it getting you down. Sharing it with Him always leaves me feeling much happier and much calmer too. After that I find I can handle what still comes at me so much better and in a more loving calm and kind way.

  4. As my husband's carer, I still need to do the 'caring' on Sabbath. This is sometimes very difficult and I find that I need to set boundaries around what I will do on Sabbath. He is not a believer and so I need to make a point of difference for Sabbath.
    It is great when I can have a visit from a friend after church to help pass the afternoon, I enjoy having the time to read as well but when Sabbath does not go out until 9pm in summer, it is a long afternoon.
    However, I still feel the blessings of the Sabbath hours and this gives me the strength to get through another week.

  5. Dear William
    Thank you for your post, but will you tell me where I can buy a husband like the one you described? Because mine was never like that, I have never heard of anyone like that before among my friends or anyone in the communities that I have lived in.
    What a dream!
    The way we used to keep (Sunday) when my children were young was - no television; or wireless/radio; no doing what we normally did during the week; and here I struggle with knitting - with the kids it would have been no doing any school homework. As we had no church in our town to attend, I taught my children and any neighbourhood kids who visited, Sunday school with material I got from my then Pastor who visited our town each 3 months. The kids could spend all day doing those activities if they wanted. But after lunch at the table together, we often went to a river nearby to look for fossilised wood or pretty stones to tumble at home. Now that I am alone, I keep Sabbath church as the rest of my aging congregation and look forward to a rest in the afternoons. Usually I find I only need that one for the week, which makes me refreshed and able to keep up with the other busy week's activities. The Sabbath afternoon siesta is quite holy for us. In the evening at just before sundown we attend Pastor’s house and have a singalong of new and favourite songs and hymns, with someone presenting the ‘thought for the week’ followed by a closing Sabbath prayer and home again. Godbless today, Mrs A Stolz.

    • You mention, "Here I struggle with knitting." That reminds me of a friend who cannot concentrate on listening without keeping her hands busy, and quilting is her favorite way of keeping her hands busy. It is a relaxing and creative outlet for her. She was a pastor's wife and didn't think that bringing her quilting to church would be accepted very well. 😉

      Now I ask you, if quilting was a relaxing and creative activity for her and helped her concentrate on the sermon, why shouldn't she quilt during the sermon?

      Ditto for knitting. It all depends on why you are knitting. If you are knitting goods to sell, that would, of course, be doing "work" on the Sabbath. But if you are doing it to relax and enjoy the sermon, would that be "work"?

      I know I'm being a bit bold here with going against tradition, but are y suggestions going against biblical teaching? (For anyone responding, please provide biblical principles in your reply.)

  6. I too struggled with what the fringes of the Sabbath are and what I may do. On Friday evenings its a rush to get home in time to shop and cook the Sabbath meal after work. Please help me understand what time really is sunset.

    • Karen, it is hard to make generalisations about how to prepare for Sabbath in an international forum like this because everyone's circumstance is different. Throwing a pre-prepared meal in the microwave to heat it up is a lot different to chopping the wood and heading up a wood-burning stove to cook a meal. In the end you have to ask yourself, "Does this activity add to or take away from the Sabbath experience.

    • Karen, am sure you can feel and joy the meaning of sunset for the Lord, if you prepare all things before the sun is set to rest. During my business hours, we start works from 8 in the morning and close at 5 in the afternnon. But on fridays, our business end at 12 noon, then we prepare all things for dinner and for the following day, before 6 in the afternoon all are complete, for observing the Holy sabbath day.Praying for you to do so.

    • Karen, is there any reason you cannot do the "Friday shopping" on Thursday and thus avoid some of the Friday rush? And perhaps you might choose some simpler recipes for Sabbath or choose some that can be partially prepared on Thursday. I know of people who prepare most of the week's meals on Sunday, with the help of a refrigerator and freezer. Unless you have no refrigerator, you could see what you can prepare further ahead than Friday.

      That way you can really enjoy the blessings of the Sabbath. 🙂

      (Maybe you can play a little trick on yourself and pretend that Thursday is actually Friday. 😉 It works for me, and it's wonderful what a sense of freedom that brings on Friday.)

      To answer your question, sunset is when the sun sets - that is when it disappears below the horizon wherever you happen to be. 🙂

      • +1 to Inge's comment on shifting to a Thursday night preparation if Friday evening becomes too pressured. There are recipes (particularly curries) which seem to taste so much better after a time marinading in the fridge.

        Others I find work well in a crockpot or slow cooker, and still others have parts you can prepare beforehand and freeze or refrigerate so that on Friday all you do is pop it all prepared on the cooker.

    • Karen, turn to the Lord with your perplexity. He has given us specific instructions for the preparation day, and will help us fulfill it(Ps 37:5). When doing this, I was able to get off earlier on Fridays when needed. The preparation day is really for our spiritual benefit, and if we are too busy to utilize it properly, we will suffer for it. It too is a gift, like the Sabbath. Yes, this world doesn't understand, but God does and He is Sovereign, and can arrange according to our needs. Ask in faith for His help where you cannot change things yourself. This helps us to keep our priorities in place. Study to know God's will, then follow it in faith. If obeying God's statutes changes our situation, it will always "work together for good", for this is how He often leads us.

      If we get home too late to prepare for Sabbath, what is our priority found to be? Are there other family members who could help? Lay this before the Lord and then follow His leading(Ps 32:8).

  7. During Sabbath morning I attend a worship service at church. During afternoon I stay at home with my siblings and we discuss about the word of God. During college years we would read favourite scriptures & sing.

    Though I struggle keeping the Sabbath, I had to talk to my employer about keeping the Sabbath holy. I have to attend work after Sabbath sundown.

  8. A pastor I had early in my Adventist experience asked the question one week............"when do you start preparing for the Sabbath?" Some answered, Thursday, some Friday..........but one old saint very boldly announced "Sunday...........I start preparing at the beginning of the week for Sabbath!"

  9. As one of your readers mentioned earlier, it is difficult to define what should or shoulnt be done in this global arena. God knows your heart and his intent is to not only rest physically but spiritually, and mentally. If you are sitting in church and mentally planning next weeks business meeting and the sister next to you is knitting so she can pay attention to the sermon, tell me who is spiritually resting on the Sabbath? Man sees our actions, but God sees the heart. Let the Sabbath be a delight, one in which no other day can compare while He remains the Focus of the day.

  10. I was reading through the comments and was pondering how exactly I would spruce up my Sabbath and I kept thinking about what made me enjoy going to church so much more as a child. There was usually VBS on Friday evenings with other children my age, and usually one of the parents would invite everyone over after pot luck (or sometimes for dinner) and there would be 10 or 12 kids around my age hanging out after church together. And what I realized that I am missing from my childhood Sabbath experiences is that there really aren't many people my age anymore that go to my home church. I've also recently moved to a new town and I'm having trouble getting to know my new church because I'm constantly going back and forth to my family to where I used to live.

    The point is though that I do visit new churches and usually, there aren't many young adults there and it makes me sad that I can't spend a Saturday afternoon with people my age that share the love of the Sabbath with me. It's very frustrating and I find myself asking God how do I change my situation. And for a while I couldn't figure it out until I realized the last time I was around people my age was the young adults/college age Sabbath school class at my previous church. I'm not sure what other churches do this age group of classes, but it was a very uplifting and intriguing class. Sometimes we would pick topics to discuss for several weeks to learn about different aspects of the Bible and it's relevance to current situations. Sometimes we would follow the Sabbath school lesson and discuss thoroughly. And sometimes it was a free-for-all day of discussion - I digress.

    Anyway, my heart has recently been impressed to start up a young adults class at my new church. Seems like a fun and good idea to get to know the young people in my community. I like projects and leading people, but I'm also a little nervous being in a new area and I'm asking for prayers for this possible new adventure.
    thanks 🙂

    • To let you know you have been prayed for 🙂

      Reaching, teaching and growing the youth in Christ is one of the greatest tasks we can do. Despite any obstacles you might find, in yourself, others or circumstance, you can be assured that you will be working side by side with Jesus.

    • Stephanie, I find your comment so inspiring!

      First of all, what your previous church did sounds right on. But what I find inspiring is that you have decided not just to sit and wait for someone to fill your needs but have decided to do something about it - something that will meet the needs of other young adults your age. And if you manage the class right - as your previous church seems to have done - you can also invite others who do not yet belong to your church.

      May God richly bless you in your endeavor! I pray that your current church will be supportive.

    • Stephanie, let me take another approach to your situation. Perhaps God has isolated you so you can be closer to HIM? If we need humans to feel refreshed on the Sabbath, don't we miss the point of it's existence? If God is with us in a real, living Presence, what "needs" could we possibly have? (Ps 23, etc)
      I also grew up with a large group my age, but I finally learned I was never alone with God when that large group no longer existed. Look for those of any age near you who need someone to bring help, encouragement and an example of living faith, and minister to them what God supplies you with.

      Yes, work on your plan also as God leads you to do it.

  11. William, as usual I enjoyed your reading and everyone's comments. It seems to me that the key statement in your writing was being at one-ment with God, when I have confessed my sins and forsakened them. He forgives me and I experience the at one ment. The Sabbath becomes a delight,and I feel free and creative. But it starts with me and my God.

  12. God has given us the answer to human restlessness.The answer is Jesus Christ.Matthew 11:28-30,here we have the invitation for rest.Rest comes in only one place and that's in Christ Jesus.The world try to tell us that we can find rest from somewhere else like the Sabbath, retirement just to name a few.I work hard and then I am going to rest.I am going to enjoy my retirement.

    Some people don\'t even live to enjoy their retirement.In Luke 12 there is such a person,that God calls him a fool.The Lord said to him,so where are those things you have provided. We can only find rest in Jesus.The sad truth that confronts us every day is that,there are many Christians who have come to Christ but have not found rest.They are no different and they live no different and behave no different than people who are not walking with Christ.

    They are still stress out still complaining still winning still going through many situations that those who are not born again goes through. And looking at them many people think,well I don\'t know if I can become a Christian it looks too hard.Wow,something is wrong somewhere.

    Christ cannot lie,He said if you come to me,I will give you rest,take my yoke and learn from me. He, Christ guarantees that He will give us rest.Many Christians have refused to take the yoke of Christ. This is the yoke of spirit life. We are born again from the spiritual realm. Not born again from the natural fleshly realm.

    You see,we are born again from Gods life, that\'s the yoke. The Life of Christ within the believer. Many Christians have not learned to turn that life on they prefer the old fleshly sinful life of works.

    Many Christians refuse to take the yoke, that\'s why they cannot find rest. Adam did not have to work for anything it was already provided. That\'s why it was created on the sixth day. The work was already done all he, Adam had to do was to enjoy it throughout eternity.

    Adam experienced that rest every
    day. The Sabbath was a symbol of Eternal rest. Because God provided everything. Remember the earth was responding to Adam before sin entered.You cannot be restless all week and expect to experience Gods rest on Sabbath. Be bless!


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