On the weekend just past, I was told by not one, but two elderly gentlemen, that people are just spending Sunday like Saturday, a day off work when one can get done the recreational desires of our heart.
There are sports competitions on Sunday, shops are open on Sunday, many of us are expected to work on Sunday. Indeed, if one does intend to have a relaxing Sunday you often get looked down upon as lazy. Darned protestant work ethic.
I’ve never been one to take the 4th commandment overly literally, I’ve had to work Sundays many times before amongst other things. I have a friend whose family took it very seriously, not washing clothes or mowing lawns on a Sunday as God has told us to rest. Let’s have a fresh look at the text:
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
So that’s pretty clear, God says “honour me” by resting on Sunday. So why don’t we do it? What has changed in the last 20 years that encourages or forces people to labour on Sundays? Is it just the increasing secularisation of our society, it it the increasing multiculturalisation of our society? Is it just we Christians are becoming less legalistic and more liberal in our interpretation of previously accepted commands?
I just know that when I was told people don’t spend time resting and contemplating God on the sabbath I was a) having a picnic in a park and b) worshiping God in church. Maybe more people should behave in that manner, but I don’t think we need to enforce people who follow other religions (or even no religion) to rest on Sunday – many industries provide services for the rest of us at that time and for that I am thankful.