The traditional Jewish Sabbath begins before sunset each Friday night. They spend all day preparing for the Sabbath meals and cleaning up around the house so that they can have a peaceful rest. They begin with the lighting of candles just prior to the sun going down. The candles are a symbol of joy and harmony. Now, remember the more traditional Jews use no electricity during the Sabbath. The candle light sets the mood. Sounds relaxing doesn’t it.
Once the candles are lit a short blessing is said and the “toasting” to the past day and week begins. They consume wine or grape juice as they toast. Next comes a blessing over the children and spouses. They partake in a festive meal complete with singing. The ceremony ends with a prayer of Thanksgiving. This is repeated at lunch and dinner Saturday.
Now I realize that my details are vague and I haven’t included all the bells and whistles to the ceremony, but how wonderful, how relaxing, and how refreshing!! The ceremony is to commensurate the idea of celebrating being alive and to give up the control over their lives. They are to relax and refresh themselves from the world around them.
Oh wait just a minute, are we not called to do the same thing? Are we not to celebrate being alive in Christ? Are we not suppose to give up the control? Now, I am not saying that we are suppose to enslave ourselves to rituals but couldn’t we modify it to help us remember to celebrate Christ on our day of worship? I mean we light candles each and every Sunday just as our worship service begins…… see my point?
Just think of the bonds that would be made with family and friends if we ate our Friday night meal by candlelight, prayed over the week and thanked God that it is FINALLY FRIDAY!! Would it not improve your family communication if you talked about how Jesus influenced your life in the past week? And how about praying a prayer of gratitude for your children and your spouse before you ended your meal? Wouldn’t that be a special Christ-like showing of love? And what about sit -around -and -sing -some -good -old -hymns or dance a little jig to today’s praise music? Wouldn’t that be a blessing for God to witness? Wouldn’t that be a Friday night worth celebrating? Think about it.