In the scriptures we learn that, when He finished the creation of the earth, our Heavenly Father rested from his work. Six days of creation were followed by one in which He rested and admired the world He had created to be inhabited by His sons and daughters. (1 Nephi 17:36)
One of the ten commandments given to Moses by the Lord decreed that every man should work six days and rest on the seventh, thus establishing a commandment to observe the Sabbath. This came with the promise of great blessings for all who obeyed. That same admonition was given to the saints in this dispensation:
'And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' (D&C 68:29)
The Guide to the Scriptures defines the rest we may have on the Sabbath as follows:
'The enjoyment of peace and freedom from worry and turmoil.'
The purpose of this rest is to help focus our mind and heart on His day. He has said:
'For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High.' (D&C 59:10)
Freeing our minds from trivial day-to day things will make our worship on the Sabbath more meaningful and help us establish a stronger bond and relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Rest is also one of the blessings that will result from a righteous life.
'And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.' (3 Nephi 27:19)
For some of us, necessary Sabbath activities may leave us feeling physically tired. But we can all still rest from worry, sorrows, and burdens that prevent us from dedicating our whole heart to Him.
In D&C 59:9 we learn that keeping the Sabbath day holy can help us be righteous and free from sin with this invitation:
'And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day.' (D&C 59:9)
A true rest each Sabbath would not be complete without attending sacrament meeting to renew our covenants with Him through the ordinance of the sacrament.
The sacrament offers us the opportunity to examine our lives and to repent so that by partaking of the bread and water in His name a greater portion of His Spirit will accompany us and allow us to resist temptation and to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ.
What a blessing it is to be able to begin our day of rest by participating in the Holy Supper as He commanded it to be done often in memory of Him:
'Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.' (John 6:54)
The Sabbath is a personal covenant between the Lord and each one of us. (Ezekiel 20:19-20) It has been given so that each of us may rest in the peace of the Lord on this day, invoke His name, renew our covenants, be cleansed of sin, and have joy, that in Him we may have peace.
President Russell M. Nelson has invited us to walk in the covenant path. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is part of that covenant path. Seeking to more fully observe His day will bring to our life and that of our families the peace and joy He has promised.
My dear Brothers and Sisters, I invite you in whatever circumstances you find yourselves, to seek true rest on His day – working justly, participating in its sacraments, freeing our thoughts from the things of this world, and with our families, elevating our rest to be like that which we will find in His presence. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.