6 December 2021  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy:

Does The Sound of Music count as a Sabbath movie? It has a good moral story. And innocent music. And nuns. 

Signed, The Hills Are Alive


Dear Hills,

These types of questions amuse Aunt Sevvy. Who has the authority to decide what is and is not a Sabbath activity? God is silent on the topic of movies approved for the Sabbath. 

Aunt Sevvy finds it helpful to revisit the purpose of the Sabbath. Genesis 2:2-3: 

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 

And then famously in Mark 2:27 we get Jesus’ definition of the Sabbath’s purpose:

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

Based on these verses, and a lifetime of personal Sabbath observance, Aunt Sevvy has boiled down the Sabbath to three essentials:

  1. Resting from the physical and mental load that we usually carry
  2. Strengthening our relationship with God
  3. Strengthening our relationships with one another

If we weigh our Sabbath activities by this metric, it makes it clear that our motives matter as we make decisions about Sabbath activity. 

Let’s take a generally accepted Sabbath activity—walking in nature—and measure it against this metric. A Sabbath hike provides rest from the mental load, and strengthens our relationship with God through his “second book” of nature. If done with family or friends, it strengthens relationships, too. So it passes the test. 

Putting The Sound of Music through the same test is a bit trickier. The answer doesn’t lie in whether the movie has nuns in it. It might pass the test if you’re watching it with your family or with friends as a bonding activity. Does it in any way hurt your relationship with God or with friends and family? Unlikely, but that’s a question only you can answer. 

If God made the Sabbath to serve your needs rather than asking you to conform your needs to the rules of the Sabbath, as stated in Mark 2:27, it is up to you to determine what will strengthen you, lift your load of workday care, honor God, and strengthen your bonds with people. Remember Colossians 2. After reminding people that Christ triumphed over all rules and authorities who would lay burdens on you, he adds (vs. 16):

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

Enjoy your Sabbath rest!

Aunt Sevvy


You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published — always without identification of the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.

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