Sunday, August 3, 2008
Growing up in the South at the time I did gave me first hand experiences with the list of things you could and could not do on Sunday. It was the Blue Law era. My first remembered instructions came from my father who told me, "You don't fish on Sunday." At the time he was not a Christian and his reason for this Sunday law was more practical than religious. "You need to give the fish a rest," he would say. This was a word from an avid fisherman! As a child I learned you didn't go to the movies on Sunday and you didn't shop on Sunday (mainly because the stores were not open). As a teenager I discovered it was ok to have a date after Sunday night church if you went to church on Sunday morning and evening. By the time I was a teenager, the times were obviously beginning to change. The only thing really allowable on Sunday was going to church and visiting aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and cemeteries which was a part of our Sunday afternoon ritual. Sunday was thought of as a day of rest even though it it might have seemed to some that it was a day of imposed rest.
Sunday was a day for not doing some things, but it was also a day for worship. Around my house it was never an option. There was no question of choice. It was simply something you did. I remember returning home from college for my first weekend visit and telling my mother on Sunday morning that I wouldn't be going that Sunday since I wanted to sleep. I don't remember exactly what she said, but I do know that when the worship hour began I was present. I think it was something about "as long as you put your feet under my table," or something which carried a similar tone.
Things are certainly different now than in those days. As far as society goes, it is "anything goes!" It is different for me personally as well. No longer is it a day determined by what cannot be done. Instead, it has become a day that determines how I will live the rest of the week. It provides an important center for my life always speaking about two important issues. It speaks to me about the need for balance between what is physical and spiritual. I am not an either-or creature. Sunday also speaks to me about my place in this relationship between God and humanity. I am not in control. God is.