I just read an article in April’s “Atlanta Parent” magazine titled, “Whatever Happened to the Day of Rest?” One of the quotes in the article was from Wayne Muller (from his book Sabbath, Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives) – “In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between work and rest. While many of us are tremendously weary, we have come to associate tremendous guilt and shame with taking time to rest. Sabbath gives us permission; it commands us to stop.”
I don’t know about all of you – but I’m weary more often than not. And, more often than not now – I DO feel guilty when I take some “me time” to rest. In fact, even when I try to rest my mind seems on auto-pilot and is constantly thinking of loads of laundry, dishes piled high in the sink, emails I need to respond to, bills I need to pay, along with a million other things…
Our tech-savvy culture these days only seems to compound the problem. I remember growing up (even into my high school years) in the days before cell phones. If you weren’t available (i.e. you weren’t at home), you just missed a phone call (or perhaps had an answering machine to pick it up). People did not expect you to be available 24/7.
Nowadays, because practically everyone has smartphones we are expected to be “connected” all the time. When I worked in New York, I recall receiving emails (where the sender expected a response) past 11 pm. They knew I had access to email on my Blackberry – and thus expected a response before work started in the morning. What a change!
Do you perhaps recall the days when grocery stores, etc. closed in the evenings and were NOT open 24 hours? Or when stores actually closed on Sundays? Long gone are those days…
Mark 2:27 states, “…The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
We desperately need the Sabbath (today more than ever!) – to be renewed through worship, to be recharged through rest, to just “pause” and reflect on God’s goodness and “enjoy” life. Most days I feel like I am just “making it” or “surviving.” The Sabbath was made for me (and you) to enjoy!
As it relates to our children, this article reminded me of how important it is for us to demonstrate how the Sabbath was made for us by God. We need to show our children how to “enjoy” the Sabbath.
When I was in New York, my male co-workers used to have a term – “Sunday Funday.” They intended to “enjoy” Sunday by watching sports games, playing cards, etc., but I was just thinking about how “Sunday Funday” (in a different sense) is what we need to be demonstrating to our children. We want them to understand that God wants us to DELIGHT in the Sabbath.
I have too many “ugggh…it’s Sunday” memories from when I was a teen. Sundays meant the end of the weekend, a last ditch effort to complete the homework due Monday morning, etc. Right now, Shaan is not in school so it’s easy enough to make Sunday a “funday” (I mean, right now – every day is a “funday” for him – ha!!!)
But as he grows and enters school, I don’t want him to associate Sundays with church (the commitment) then homework/cramming before school on Monday (another commitment). Instead, if I have to put my foot down, I’m reminded that I need to ensure he completes his homework and “commitment” duties earlier in the weekend because, for us as a family, Sunday means going church (worship and fellowship) then enjoying ourselves (picnics, movies, sports, etc – whatever we deem to be “fun” and relaxing).
Now obviously this may not work perfectly (after all there are many weekends where my husband has to work (is on call) Sundays). He’s in the medical profession, and unfortunately illnesses don’t stop on the Sabbath.
But the point is to make the effort…if I can start these “Sunday Funday” practices when Shaan is a toddler, then perhaps for all of us it will just be a “routine” we fall into and don’t even think about when he’s in middle school/high school. And rather than making an effort to “stop” on the Sabbath (as I’m having to do now), it will just be second nature to him. And something he looks forward to…
Because God created it for him after all….