I grew up in a home where the Sabbath was strictly observed. This was the result of my own parents’ parents all having embraced the Millennial-anticipating, Kingdom-oriented lifestyle as experienced at the Shiloh, Maine community of the early 1900’s. For those who “got it,” it was not a legalistic looking to the past and trying to replicate the aura of a bygone era. Rather, it was a forward look, with a grand sense of the glories of the future. The authors of some of the Sabbath songs in Warrior Songs were people who were there, and captured some of the essence of it in their hymns.
My parents in their turn I think, “got it.” To the best of their ability they faithfully sought to carry on in the same spirit that they had experienced in their youth. Friday afternoons had almost a Jewish flavor to them as Mum bustled about with her cleaning and meal preparations. Coming home to the smell of fresh baked bread and often either fish chowder or corn chowder for dinner was part of a happy tradition. Then on the dot of sundown the family would gather. Dad would pray, and then prayer would follow right down the pecking order of the family. This was usually followed by a reading from the “Sabbath Book.” Theirs was a tattered blue copy of articles prepared for each of the Sabbaths of 1940. And often the best part of it was as my parents reminisced and testified to the miraculous works of God that they had known. I still remember some of them. And the weekly treat of candy kind of crowned it.
I am sure that much of the content of what was in those Sabbath articles went over my head at the time. However, there is the one about the alpaca that resonated deeply with me. And my father’s own testimony reinforced it. He worked for a General Contractor who was a good man. But on occasion in the busy time of summer he would work all seven days of the week. My father’s sense was that when he did that, he was pretty useless the following week in terms of efficiency and getting things done. Below is a copy of that article.
“An experiment was proposed in South America as to the labors of the alpaca, a beast of burden. They were divided into two classes—the former working seven days each week, the latter working but six days—and lo, a wonderful and unexpected result! It was actually found that those who labored seven days accomplished less than those who had a day of rest.
“God has made both man and domestic beasts with a view to the weekly cessation of labor upon the holy day. When a man crowds himself or crowds his beast he simply brings a breakdown eventually, and will find he has made a fool of himself in attempting to outwit the Creator. The insane asylums of the earth are full of people who have abused themselves by continuous labor until their minds gave way.
“In our own physical interests as well as in the interests of your pocketbook you had better have twenty-four hours of utter cessation; and these words apply not only to you but to your beast of burden.”
I hope that this little reminiscence adds to your Sabbath “delight.”