As I grew up, Sunday afternoons had a specific structure. We would get home from church, eat a Sunday dinner (usually a roast cooked in the electric skillet with potatoes and carrots), and then go into a rest mode. Mom and Dad would go to the front room with the Sunday Post Dispatch, my brother and I would sit in the dining room with out homework.
We would work around the table getting the vocabulary done, reading our history, writing a paper, etc. Mom and Dad would start to read the paper. Before you knew it, Dad would be asleep in his rocker and Mom would be stretched out on the sofa. The television was off. That was the way the afternoon ran until about 5 p.m. when it was time to eat a quick supper and head back to church for youth group or an administrative council meeting. Church was in town, 8 miles away.
That Sunday afternoon structure is lost today. Now we have a full agenda on Sunday’s. For me, it is usually laundry, changing sheets, prepping for another school week (I never could get away from homework on Sunday afternoon). We do not rest. Actually, the entire Sunday routine is challenged as sports schedule their events on Sundays, as shopping becomes a day long activity, jobs schedule people for Sunday work, and the list continues to grow.
Recently I was asked to review the concept of Sabbath-keeping. Sabbath keeping refers to making time for the body to rest. No longer do we really maintain a day for rest. Now we have to make a concentrated effort to rest. Not only that, but we must now figure out how to schedule in rest. This is one of my worst skills. Today, I finally did sit down to rest. I had the evening to kick my feet up in the recliner, to read some of my materials, and to knit–all while watching tv and the fire in the fireplace. It was lovely.
Sabbath-keeping was a part of my upbringing: now as I review recommendations for a Christian lifestyle, I find I must conscientiously add sabbath-keeping back into my routines. As a member of the laity, I must remember that even our church’s staff must keep sabbath in order to serve our church successfully. My childhood routines need to be placed back into my life. Mom and Dad knew a life axiom that I should have kept. Hopefully others, too, will see the need to rest on a regular basis.
My hope for each of you is that you come to know the value of sabbath-keeping (rest and renewal) and decide to make it a priority for yourself, but also for your family. Let today’s children learn the importance of rest and renewal. We do not want to see a generation of burnouts who have no way of knowing how to live a healthy, Christian lifestyle.