It’s Sunday.  The calendar doesn’t lie.  Depending on how you order your week it’s either the first day of the week or it’s the seventh day.  But no matter how you slice it–it’s still Sunday.  How much of a “sabbath” is it for you?    By Sabbath I mean “a day of rest”.

When I was a kid my parents didn’t work on Sunday.  They had a family business for 6 days a week but they never opened on Sundays.  It was a totally different day for us.  They sent us to Sunday School and then picked us up after Sunday School to “go for a drive”.  We’d have a light lunch and then have the afternoon free to “play”.  No work.  No chores.  No obligations.  Then in the evening we’d have the best dinner of the week.  My mom worked full time in the family business so this was the one day she “cooked”.  Usually it was roast beef!  Mmmmm.  It was good.    In the evening we watched Disney and maybe stayed up long enough to see Ed Sullivan.    For me the Sabbath was not only good, but it “felt” good. 

I confess that I know how to have a Sabbath because I learned it as a child.  It’s built into my inner rhythms.  The bigger question is, do I practise Sabbath?  Is there a day of my week when I rest from my labours and renew through change, play, worship and family? 

As a pastor I also confess that Sunday is a poor Sabbath for me.  It always starts early, runs quickly, and ends exhaustingly.  The first church I pastored years ago had early am prayer meeting, first service, Sunday School, second service, often a lunch with congregants, an evening service and quite regularly something after the evening service.  It was an 18 hour day from start to finish.  There wasn’t much “Sabbath” going on there for me.   And you know, I suspect a fair number of my congregants didn’t get much “Sabbath” that day either.  I had the luxury of declaring “Monday” to be my Sabbath but they were heading back to regular work the next morning.  Hmmm.

I have a friend that joined a Saturday pm congregation.  The group had a bit of an OT ethic that says in the Biblical rhythm of creation, God designed the order of the day to be “evening and morning” so in order to be pure, they felt it was best to gather in the evening to match that pattern.  Possibly they have a point.  My friend wasn’t quite so pure.  He just liked the idea of sleeping in on Sunday and going for brunch with his family and avoiding the church crowds!   My thinking on that?  Whether he realized it or not, I think he caught the rhythm of Sabbath while avoiding the rat race of church going. 

How do you catch Sabbath?