Monday, May 21, 2007

Simply Sunday

Sundays are special days for most Christians, and Latter-day Saints are no exception. It’s the Sabbath day and we try our best to keep it holy. It’s a day of rest so part of keeping it holy is trying to do as little work as possible, and not making anybody else work, either.

This is a weird paradox for me. First off, our Stake president likes to hold general priesthood meetings several times a year. No big deal. It’s just an extra meeting to go to once in a while. The trouble is our Stake president likes to hold them at 6:30 in the morning, or what I fondly refer to as the “time of apostasy.”

I’m not a morning person. I am the stake music director, however, so I can’t skip out of them. I’ve got to arrange for hymns, an organist, and then direct a bunch of overly tired men and teenage boys in singing them. As much as I’d like to, I can’t be one of the “saints who have slept.” I’ve got to get up and go to these meetings as well as my regular church meetings.

It's also very difficult as the stake music director to encourage regular choir practice attendance, without attending myself, so you can add that to my list of regular Sunday meetings, as well.

Because of my work schedule we’ve also chosen to do Family Home Evenings on Sundays. For those who aren’t LDS (and we can fix that, if you’d like), that’s an evening during the week that we get together as a family to discuss the gospel, deal with family issues, and so on. Sometimes we get serious, sometimes we play games. It’s all about spending time together as a family. The Church recommends we set aside Monday nights for that sort of thing, but I work late on Mondays so we do it on Sunday’s instead.

My schedule is also busy enough that I try and do the majority of my Home Teaching assignments on Sunday, too. It’s not the best choice of days, but it’s more likely I’ll get it done, then. Again, for those who aren’t LDS, Home Teaching is a program where members who hold the priesthood go visit with assigned households in the congregation (either a branch or ward). We sometimes share a message about the gospel, but mostly it’s just to make sure everyone in the congregation is doing okay. If they need help, financially, medically, or otherwise, Home Teachers can alert the powers that be and get it to them. Sometimes they need money, sometimes food. Either way the ward leaders can get on it. Maybe they need a priesthood blessing, in which case the home teachers can do that to. In any case it’s a great program. It helps make sure that as a “ward family” each member is getting the physical, and spiritual, things they need.

All of this boils down to the fact that Sundays aren’t really a ‘day of rest’ for me. Some people think that’s a blasphemy. That’s just too bad for them. My family does the best we can and God understands. He’s kinda cool that way.

Because I’m the one that normally cooks it also means I’ve got to make dishes that are quick and simple. If I try and get all elaborate on Sundays, nobody eats. Fasting is a great thing, but I don’t try and do it more than once a month if I can help it. Sometimes these dinners will be of the “one dish” variety, like ham-fried rice or a quick stir-fry. Other times they’ll be two or three simple things, like spaghetti and a green salad on the side. Either way, there’s something to be said for simple and quick fair. The less time I sit in front of the stove, even if I’m enjoying it, the more time I can spend with my family.

That’s not to say I don’t cook with my family on Sundays. I try and do that as much as I can. The challenge I face with that is my wife doesn’t like cooking, and my kids are still young. I don’t care how much she may beg; I’m not going to let my two year old chop vegetables for a few more years.

Still, there are things that can be done to make meal preparation simple, and quick. I’m actually quite grateful for such recipes. I think God inspired their creation. At the least, they keep us from eating frozen TV dinners on the Sabbath. Eating that way really would be a blasphemy.

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