When We Hijack Sunday

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I open my Sunday paper and peruse the inserts to find this:



Parade Magazine, Sunday, August 28, 2011

All right, I’m game.  How did my Sundays get so crazy?  How do I take back my weekend?  So I open the mini mag and begin to read.  It begins with a Virginia couple who ramble off a list of things they “have” to do on the weekend which includes a lot of sporting and social events, and it ends with church.  That felt like an afterthought, but I digress.  Then they begin to list their household chores.  This culminates with the article’s assertion that people “aren’t enjoying themselves on the weekends” as if there was no choice.  There is a choice.  In fact, there is a commandment: “Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).  It’s one of the big ten.  It’s not a suggestion or a piece of Godly advice.  We don’t think of “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) as optional, so why is keeping the sabbath?

The article points out that people feel stressed out from all their activities and lack of rest.  They feel overworked and trapped, but we determine what ends up on our calendars.  We have the agency to determine what we will do with our time, as well as what we won’t do.  There’s more to the commandment about keeping the sabbath.  It says:

“Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work.  But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work– you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it” (Exodus 20:8-11 NRS).

God includes a commentary on the commandment to keep the sabbath holy, even graciously giving us insight into the purpose behind it.  God created the world for six days and chose to rest on the seventh day.  Therefore, we will honor God and the work of creation in our observance.  Further more, Christians use the sabbath as a day of worship, a time to give honor and glory to God.  It is the day when the community gathers together to enjoy fellowship and begin the week with sacred time.  Many of us now choose to disregard this day.  We choose to schedule ourselves into non-stop activity and then complain about the ramifications as if we did not have control over it.  I have many people tell me, “But our daughter’s soccer team practices on Sunday.”  I know, I see them out on the fields.  What is more important?  What message are we sending about our values if we cave into the pressures of society to cut our sabbath short for the sake of their activities?

The article never was much help.  It advises a lot of common sense fixes, like spreading your chores out over the week.  I guess for me it seems that we make our weekends into this action packed, non-stop span of time and then wonder why we are so tired.  Our times is our own.  We determine how we will spend it, and we do so having to accept the consequences of our choices.  I work for more than five hours on Sunday and I come home pretty tired, but I am fulfilled.  I rest for the remainder of my day, and I have a deep sense of satisfaction and joy when I go to bed at night.  Surprisingly, I wake up with residual effects of my Sunday sabbath.  It helps me make Monday an easy transition from my weekend.

When we decide to take Sunday away from the Lord, and claim it for ourselves, we suffer the consequences.  We trade rest for activity, relaxation for stress, and worship for self interest.  We can be the lord of our lives or be intentional about living for the Lord.  One will exhaust you and the other will exhilarate you.

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