Sunday, April 30, 2017
A Day Off
Back when and where I grew up, folks worked six days a week. But still, even then, the hard core workaholics like farmers who never got to the end of the row took off Sunday. Maybe they figured the mule used to plow the fields needed to rest, or maybe they just knew they did, too. As times changed and the five day work week became the norm, Saturday became a day for "me" and Sunday continued to be the Lord's. Nowadays it seems like both Saturday and Sunday belong to "me." The Lord has lost His.
During these years and decades of transition, I began preaching. The older preachers who were already working talked about working all the time which, of course, was not a healthy thing for them or their families. But, those ordained with me and after me were talking about blending in and being like everyone else around them. If other professionals had a five day work week, then so should the ordained clergy. Such was our reasoning. Since we had to work on Sunday, it soon became the norm for clergy to take off Friday and Saturday. While there was nothing wrong with coming to this place of taking time away from work, Sabbath got lost in the cultural shuffle. Days were taken off, but no day was really viewed as a day for Sabbath rest. Sunday continued to be a day for Sabbath work.
Time off is not Sabbath rest. Mostly, time off was doing things that were unrelated to the work of the church. Of all the people who should have been figuring Sabbath rest out, we allowed ourselves to dismiss it as something which was for all practical purposes not really necessary. We became those who thought they could get along without it. Sunday was usually the hardest, most exhausting, and longest work day of the week. Not finding a way to make Sabbath happen can only be viewed as an act of disobedience even though we justified what we did by looking at what we did do for God on the Sabbath. In retrospect it may have been a poor trade when we traded Sabbath for a day off.