God’s creation is a constant reminder of His love, grace, and creativity. And for most Seventh-day Adventists, the Sabbath is when we have the freedom—indeed, the responsibility—to enjoy and be aware of God’s creation. What are your favorite Sabbath memories, and how do they reinforce your concept of God? —Editors.
My most precious Sabbath memories have always involved the great outdoors. As a child growing up in the Fort Walton Beach, Florida, church, our whole congregation would go camping for the weekend at Florida’s Blackwater River State Park. We’d float down the shallow river, occasionally stopping on smooth, white sandbars to picnic, explore, and talk about God’s beautiful creation.
Then we’d set up camp along the banks, belt out praise songs by campfire light, and fall asleep in our cozy tents listening to the hum of crickets and the call of whippoorwills.
When I was a young adult serving as a student missionary in Pohnpei, Micronesia, Sabbath afternoons often involved jungle hikes to roaring waterfalls, snorkeling along colorful coral reefs in warm salt water, and sneaking onto second-story roofs to lie in silence under a heavy blanket of twinkling stars. For me, creation is the tangible hem of the Savior’s cloak.
Alicia Goree Adams, Camarillo, California
Hiking and getting close to nature, I thank God for everything He has made, and how what He made is more beautiful than anything ever touched by humanity. He speaks through the breeze and the little birds singing. The trees sway and move gracefully and maybe I see a nest of ladybugs. Even the fragrance tells of a loving Creator. I feel refreshed and happy.
Linda Anderson, Hermosa Beach, California
I grew up on a Seventh-day Adventist academy campus. On many Sabbath afternoons my father would borrow a microscope from the academy lab, and my sister and I would walk around, taking samples of anything that could be placed under a microscope lens: a feather, spiderweb, ladybug—even a flower seed would do. Our task was then to carefully draw and classify what we saw. Our love for God’s nature was increased as a result of that rewarding Sabbath afternoon activity.
Ester Block, Ottawa, Ontario
One Friday the winds blew and blew. The next day we went out to see what had been destroyed.
At my sister’s business we found a nest. We took the nest inside and took out the newspaper the mommy bird had used to make her home, along with colored string, sticks, pieces of plastic, and many other treasures. Then we went outside and looked around to see if we could find some of the things that went into making the nest. It was a fun Sabbath afternoon.
Also, I remember taking dandelion blossoms, have the kids blow them off the stalk, and tell them that they were God’s helicopters. I used many things in nature to show them their heavenly Father’s creation.
Deb Cash, Hawthorne, Nevada
At Hobble Creek Canyon, outside Springville, Utah, we often spent Sabbath afternoons with the Smiths on their ranch. There was always more food than we could eat, and we hiked trough the canyons to the sound of birds tweeting and water flowing. God’s majestic love was everywhere we looked.
Patricia Farley, Detroit, Michigan
Best and most vivid were the Sabbath afternoons my family went for a picnic. Afterward my mother would take my brother and me to a nearby hillside, meadow, or stream, and we’d learn to identify the flowers, trees, or birds, or just lie on a blanket and chat, or imagine different shapes in the clouds.
Sometimes my mother read us a story. Sometimes we’d press flowers or chase butterflies with butterfly nets she made us. Other times we’d have picnics with a group of friends, two or three families. I enjoyed listening to them discuss religion.
Lynetta Murdoch, Beltsville, Maryland
Every Sabbath after lunch my father, Dr. Otto J. Neufeld, would lead a clutch of children and a duet of cocker spaniels “up the road-a,” a dirt track behind our home. A God-loving and quiet man, he by turns led and followed us on the short half-mile trek to the dead end. It seems like such an insignificant kind of outing, no fancy clothing or gear needed. Yet he took the time to show us interesting bits of nature: the benign bamboo stand, hollowed out with log seats inside, or a (fortunately) dead rattlesnake stretched across the dusty road. Dad often reminded me to stop looking at my feet (obviously because of the rattlesnake), and to look up at the infinitely fascinating world around us. On those simple walks he taught us to appreciate God’s creativity.
Denise Pereya, La Cañada, California
One of my favorite Sabbath activities is to take a Lifestyle guest or other visitor for the weekend about two miles west of here and 1,400 feet higher to watch the sun rise. I like to pray that our experience with God will be as deep as the chasm below us, as high as the mountains yet beyond us, or as peaceful as the stillness that surrounds us in these high and wild places. The view from the summit of South Peak will thrill all but the most dispassionate soul.
John Raymond Roeske, Loveland, Colorado
In college we would pile into several cars and bring baskets of food and drinks to a nearby creek. We would have a picnic and take a hike, followed by a short nap under the shade of the trees. Some would bring a guitar and get the others to sing along. I stuck to my nap. Since I worked full-time and had a full load of classes, it was the only day of the week I could take a nap. Ah, nap, under the shade of a tree, listening to the whisper of the creek and the voices of the other kids singing. Pure pleasure!
Alberto Valenzuela, Shreveport, Louisiana