Each of the days during Advent Fr. John Peck is giving us words or concepts to blog about as part of the 40 Days of Pastoral Blogging exercise. This is day nine, and I have to say that most of the past eight days have been a challenge to blog but also a challenge to blog on the topic he has selected. I usually just open a blank page and write. I am not sure where it is going to go or how it will end, I just write. Today will be no different.
Sabbath is one of those hotly debated items in the Church. Not really the day of the Sabbath, as Christians we have moved this day to Sunday as the day of resurrection, but the original meaning of the Sabbath was a day of rest. This was a day free of all work, some can take that to a high degree as we see in Scripture when the leaders heckle Jesus because his followers picked a head of grain whilst walking through the fields, or it can go the other way where Sunday is just another day of the week.
Some call Sunday the Lord’s Day and it is a day that is given to worship and family. Most do not worship any longer and the view of family has changed. Sitting in room together tapping on the latest electronic gadget is not really communication, but I guess the object is being together.
The problem, as I see it, is that nothing in American culture is sacred any more. For some, church is something that we do when there is nothing else going on. “My child is involved in sports and they practice on Sunday.” Well that is a choice we make. If we are true to our faith then the choice is simple, we attend Church. Practice happens on Sunday because we let it happen. Stores opened on Sunday because, we the consumer, wanted stores to open on Sunday. If we did not shop the stores would not be open.
There is a point in Orthodox Worship, just before the priest enters the Holy Place with the gifts that are about to be offered, when the sing “lets us lay aside all the earthly cared of life.” We come to worship to forget about all that is going on in the world. For those few moments a week our focus should be on nothing but the Holy and how we are living our lives. The question we should be asking is “are we living the life God wants us to live?” If we do not know the answer to that question, ask Him!
But what about after worship? How do we spend the rest of the Sabbath day? Are we involved in worldly pursuits, and by that I mean are we working at or profession. Some people have to work on Sunday because of their jobs, medical folks, people in emergency services, and because of us, those in retail all have to work on Sunday. But what of the rest of us? Sunday is a time for rest, and this time of year watching football!
It is hard to listen to the voice of God when we are so busy that we do not take the time to listen. Stop and listen, take Sunday to rest and restore your body. Hang up that phone if you are talking about work, there are six days in the week for labor and one for rest. Use that day as it was intended.