Everyone has their own way to make Sabbath special.
While some students bring traditions they have grown up with to college, others have started their own while on campus. All of these traditions range in size from lighting the vespers Sabbath candle to sharing a more personal moment with God as the sun sets.
For junior Francine Eulizier, Friday nights are a time for fellowship and song. She and several other girls get together for a Sabbath tea party with warm drinks and snacks. Their gathering starts with prayer to invite the Holy Spirit in and ask for a blessed evening. Then, after everyone has gotten their snacks and tea, five hymns are chosen and sung with laughter and light chatter between each song.
The tea party then continues with each girl sharing about her highs and lows of the week and how God has impacted her life. Their worship ends with taking prayer requests to close in prayer.
While about ten girls now gather for this Sabbath tea party, it started out much smaller. Eulizier describes how they began meeting biweekly between four girls last year. Now, due to the business of the week, they only meet on Fridays and have more girls participate.
Eulizier says, “God used me to be a leader for this group. I’m so blessed to see it continue another year at Union. Without God, this wouldn’t exist.”
Sophomores Kaitlin McArthur and Cheyenne Manley wanted to make the Sabbath a special time when they roomed together freshman year. After they cleaned their room for the Sabbath, they would head to a natural foods store to buy wildflowers on sale to brighten up the place.
“It was something to look forward to at the end of the week. Once you had those Friday flowers sitting on the desk, it was a reminder that Sabbath was there, and you could just stop and rest,” Manley recalls.
Although it’s nice to welcome the Sabbath with others, Sabbath traditions can also be a time to simply recharge and spend a few minutes with only yourself and God.
Sophomore Hailey Hornbeck takes a quieter approach to the Sabbath and ends her Fridays by dimming the lights, putting on Christian music,and coloring on the floor. She says this helps her unwind from the week and start her restful Sabbath.
“I do it to relax myself,” Hornbeck says. “It gets my mind on God.”
Despite differences in size and activity in all of these Sabbath traditions, each one has its own way of bringing people closer to God and making their Sabbath special.
Taking time to make Sabbath a special time for yourself can be the perfect way to have peace after a long and stressful week. Just as Francine’s tradition grew in the last year, many other traditions can grow and touch more people than ever expected.
Amanda McCarter is a sophomore studying biomedical science.