And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”So the people rested on the seventh day. Exodus 16:28-30
When I was little a song came out, “Never on a Sunday”. It won an Academy Award. It was a catchy tune, and my mother would sing it. “You can kiss me on a Monday….but never on a Sunday, a Sunday, A Sunday, ’cause that’s my day of rest.” Innocent enough. The movie was actually about a lady of ill repute who has a heart of gold and gives an American scholar a tour of her native Greece. ( I didn’t know that as a kid and considering the decade, the subject matter was done with decorum.) But the point is, in the 1960’s everyone took Sunday off. We had Blue Laws, which meant things couldn’t be sold on Sundays. Stores were closed, if not all day, at least until noon. No alcohol or cigarettes were sold on Sunday. You couldn’t by clothes or anything from a hardware store. Very few restaurants were open.
Boy have times changed! Sunday is no more a day of rest. Stores are open 24/7. My great niece’s ball league has games on Sunday! I think our car is just about the only one on our block that leaves the neighborhood to go to church on Sunday morning. I have seen blurry eyed, robed neighbors in their yards grabbing the paper as we hop in the car, all dressed in our Sunday best. A few early birds are jogging. Maybe their services are later in the day. (Maybe I should be more diligent in asking them to come to ours).
A friend of mine and her husband decided to observe the Sabbath as a true day of rest. On Sundays they turn off the TV, off the computer and put one of their cell phones on vibrate in case of an emergency call, but turn off the other. They don’t go out to eat or shop. The first Sunday, that “rest” lasted for about two hours after Church before they ended up going to the movies out of sheer boredom. But now, they really do relax as a family after services. They talk, take time to stay home and be together, read their Bible and play games. She cooks a big meal on Saturday, or crock pots a meal, and they warm it up on Sunday to spend time together leisurely eating and sharing without laboring in the kitchen. She has found the kids actually sleep better and no one is dragging on Monday morning.
That convicted me. How often have I dashed by the grocery store on the way home from church, or come home to catch up on some work on the computer,or cleaned the house and did the laundry? Sunday breakfast out is a tradition. The Denny’s and IHOPs are standing room only. I’ve shopped often on Sunday, gone to the Home Depot or Target, Sears or Wal-Mart. I think I even made our son do chores on Sundays. Oops.
God gives us one day out of the week to rest. Most Christians observe that as Sunday, some stick to Saturday. Whatever day your faith tradition chooses, the purpose is this: God commands six days we are to labor, but the seventh we are to rest. God did it when He created the universe. What makes me think I am immune?