When my parents were married, they were not of the same religious faith. My mother’s family were first Lutheran, then Seventh-day Adventists, in Germany. My father’s family in Germany were nominally Lutheran and as child and an adult, my father had no interest in religion of any kind.
My parents met in New York City, fell in love in spite of their religious differences and got married in the City Hall of New York City. My mother told us, when my sister and I were old enough to understand, that she married my father with the full intent of converting him to Seventh-day Adventism. However, the first years of childhood, being raised in such religious diversity, made Sabbath-keeping a challenge.
My mother believed that the Sabbath was to be observed as a true day of setting aside anything that didn’t have to be done, and my sister and I were also taught that.
Friday was a day of preparation – shoes were shined, baths were taken, hair was washed, clothes were checked to be certain they were properly presentable. The house was cleaned from top to bottom (even though it was always clean), food was prepared for Sabbath meals, and all this was done in order to be certain that at sundown on Friday, the Sabbath could be welcomed with family worship.
My mother’s practice on Sabbath was not to listen to the radio, read the mail or get involved in any discussion that might interfere with Sabbath observance. When my sister and I were small, Mother found time to share bible stories with us, took us on walks and had various spiritually enriching books that were saved to be read on the Sabbath. Even some toys were reserved only to be used on the Sabbath.
My mother’s intent was to have us understand that the Sabbath truly was to be set aside from practices that were perfectly OK during the week, but on the Sabbath only special practices were to take place. She made it clear that those practices were to be so special that we would look forward to the Sabbath, rather than wishing it had not arrived. It was all in the presentation of the purpose of the Sabbath.
These recollections are important, as I remember a Mother who cared about her children so much that she planned to make the Sabbath a day to look forward to, and we did.
My father tolerated this weekly schedule without much objection, though while he took us to church on the Sabbath, he didn’t go into the church.
When we moved to a country location within reasonable distance of a one-room Seventh-day Adventist school, my mother cultivated fruit and vegetables and even had us help take care of 200 hens, so that the money earned from the sale of produce and eggs would be used to pay the tuition. My father didn’t object and actually joined in.
Why these “remembrances”? My mother’s observances and daily prayers for my father took 15 years before my father decide that my mother’s faith was something he wanted more of. He was baptized and for the rest of his life he was a faithful church member.
Thank God for a caring mother who left me with such pleasant “remembrances.”