Monday, June 22, 2009

On Keeping Holy the Sabbath Day

Growing up, I never really contemplated the idea of keeping holy the Sabbath day. We went to Mass every Sunday, and normally we would spend the rest of the day at Grandma's, which included spending time with the extended family, football and/or swimming for us kids, and TV, cards, cooking, and cleaning for the adults. While there was nothing explicitly holy or religious about this, I think through family custom we did a decent job of fulfilling God's decree, keeping in mind that man was not made for the sabbath, but the sabbath for man.  

However, as an adult who is a perpetual student and who has been a teacher, I now frequently procrastinate throughout the week and use Sunday to complete any remaining homework, grading, or lesson planning. Yesterday as we were to driving to see family for Father's day, I was reflecting on those who were working: truck drivers in particular, but also waiters and waitresses, cooks, cashiers, etc.  How difficult it has now become to refrain from participating in the "social sin," for lack of a better term, of violating the sabbath! 

What do you think it means to keep holy the Sabbath? How much are we/you willing to sacrifice (convenience stores, Monday deliveries, gas stations, etc.) to enable others to have the freedom to rest on the Lord's Day? 


Henry Karlson said...

It's always a difficult question, is it not? I think we must remember that the Lord's day was made for us, and not us for the Lord's day. This should help relieve some of the anxiety which we might have if we find ourselves having to "work" on the "Lord's Day" (which, for Byzantines, is "the eighth day").

To keep it holy is, for me, primarily one of attitude, respect for the day, a desire to consistently bring the Lord forward in all that we do. Sometimes this means work - but again, this is because it is the only day we might have left to do the work we do on Sunday. But more often, I try to do meditation and think of holy things (and often write them down) after liturgy. Is it work? Is prayer work? Perhaps to some, but for me, it is one of my ways to glorify God.

Debbie said...

Hey Josh, when Benny and I were nurses we worried about work and Sunday, a wonderful priest helped us sort it out. Now a mutual professor of ours said he committed to no work on Sunday and was able to accomplish plenty with the grace of God the rest of the work week. I have since tried that and I must say that with the grace of God one can do wonders. Tell Ash hello and give the baby a hug from Ms. Debbie

V said...

I worry about this too. It comes to me in the form of holidays though. We were not wealthy growing up, my mom was a waitress for most of my childhood. She worked when the money was hot: Sunday brunch, Weekend nights, evenings, and holidays.
When I was in high school, I worked at the grocery store. I worked on Thanksgiving one year. Yeah, I was away from my family on Thanksgiving, so people could pick up last minute stuff that they could have purchased on Wednesday night. A friend of mine came in and said, "I can't believe they are making you work today." My reply was, "If you had bought that yesterday, then I wouldn't have had to come in today."
Stores are open on holidays and Sundays because people will go to them.
In my house, on a holiday, nobody goes to the store. If we don't have it, then we don't get it. Its the poor and the students who have to/want to go in on those holidays. Time and a half is very attractive, but what about their families?
Maybe we should extend this to Sundays as well to help those that HAVE to work, do a little less.