It's hard to believe that not too many years ago most people observed Sunday as a family day and day of rest. Today however there are few businesses that observe the Sabbath rest and few families. And we wonder why we are so stressed out!?
Several years ago while in a study group of the 10 Commandments we pondered what the Sabbath meant to us:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
I likened it as having permission to do nothing on Sunday, except of course to worship God. But I was wrong. It's not a suggestion, it's a commandment. God is commanding us to rest. What a novel, liberating and difficult thing to imagine!
Novel - that most of us treat Sunday like any other day of the week. We shop, go out to eat, catch up on our housework, paperwork or other things that are yet undone. We use it as a day to catch up on our work. But do we ever really catch up? My guess is that we could always find more work to do.
Liberating - you mean I don't have to use my Sunday to catch up on my work? I shouldn't feel guilty about leaving the laundry for Monday? The shopping can wait till tomorrow?
Difficult - we realized that the reason we shouldn't shop or go out to eat on Sunday is because in essence someone else has to work on Sunday to serve you. Where is their rest? You may say that they will have to work whether we go out to the store or not. But if everyone followed this commandment the stores would get no business, and they too could spend time with their families and look forward to their day of rest.
When I was growing up, Sunday meant going to Mass as a family, then heading to grandma and grandpa's house for the rest of the day. We spent the day listening to loud Italian music, rousing around with our cousins, playing bunco with grandma, and combing grandpa's hair. The aromas from the kitchen were intoxicating. Both grandma and grandpa were amazing cooks. We ate a huge family meal together (snacking all the while) with our extended family whom we intimately knew.
Then we'd head home take baths, get ready for bed, and watch something like "The Wild Kingdom" on TV, going to bed early to be bright and fresh for Monday morning.
It is tempting to work on the Sabbath. Many of our customers want us (at Wyandotte Winery) to be open on Sundays. Imagine the extra sales and extra income; we'd be so busy. But I usually respond, "We'd be dead." If we always worked and didn't take the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, then why bother? What would be the purpose of making lots of money only to be exhausted all the time.
I always admired the owners of Shottensteins. They always closed by sundown on Friday and all day Saturday to observe the Jewish Sabbath. They were closed on what is the busiest shopping day of the week. Many people complained what an inconvenience it created, what a silly move, just think of how successful they'd be if they only stayed open on Saturday. After all, why couldn't they just make Monday their Sabbath? Later I understood, and respected them for taking a stance in a world that would not understand. They were unwilling to bend their knee to the desires of the masses, the flavor de jour. So long as I am an owner of Wyandotte Winery, we will remain closed on Sundays, so buy your weekend wine on Saturday.
Keeping the Sabbath can be done, but must be planned for in advance. That means to celebrate the Sabbath, do your shopping, fill your gas tanks, prep for a big Sunday meal, throw in one last load of laundry, and anticipate spending a day of rest, worshipping God, seeing your children, enjoying home cooked meals with loved ones and taking time to smell the roses. Take a hike in the woods, feed the birds, play a game of kickball, take a hiatus from being plugged in all day, get some fresh air, and have a bottle of Wyandotte Winery wine and ENJOY!
I am trying to make a conscious effort to honor the Sabbath. I no longer shop on Sunday, and I plan a day of spending with family over some home cooking. It will be hard for me to "not work" even around the house. But thank God, I am married to a man that KNOWS how to rest. Thank you Robin: I'll be spending more time sitting with YOU!