The secular world would have us
believe that rest is a waste of time.
When I picked up the telephone receiver, one of my college sons was on the other end. “Hi, Mom. I’ll be home in a few days. Will you take my motorcycle tire in and get it repaired?”
Easy enough, I thought – but it wasn’t. The tire was easily fixed, but not my reaction to a sign hanging on the wall behind the service counter at the motorcycle shop. It read: OPEN SUNDAY – CLOSED WEDNESDAY.
As my eyes focused on the words, I felt as though I had been stabbed in the heart, more evidence of the fading of our community’s Christian heritage. I found myself wondering, Will the few places that are closed on the Lord’s Day begin to post such signs?
I asked the service manager about the sign. “We feel that we can better serve our customers by being open throughout the weekend,” he replied.
I didn’t make any comment. I know, I could have said that everyone is better served when we first serve God. But I didn’t. I probably should have, but I’m discouraged that fewer and fewer people seem to care about serving God when there’s bigger money to be made.
While I waited for a written estimate, I recalled my own hometown. Each Sunday Main Street was quiet. Nothing was open except the churches, and they were full. My husband and I moved to Traverse City in 1966, and began raising our family. At the time, except for life-supporting facilities, restaurants, and filling stations, most businesses were closed on Sunday, too. But little by little that changed.
As merchants and other business people have raced to try and outdo their competitors, I believe they have instead hurt themselves, their employees, and their community. In and effort to keep business doors open, whole communities have become fragmented. As the day of rest is ignored, there is a loss of unity that once strengthened the family, the church, the community, and the nation.
Today, generations are growing up without gathering, honoring God, and enjoying the benefit of a set-apart day. They grow up painfully aware that something is missing from their lives, but are unsure of what it is. They join the hectic pace, hoping to find what’s missing. They run faster, faster, and wonder why they can’t make any sense out of their lives. They wonder because there is not sense to life apart from God.
Ironically, there is only so much money to be made anyway, and it could more easily, and more cost effectively, be made in five or six days. In the Bible, God commands, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy: Was it God’s intention to take a day away from people? Or was it his intention to give them a very special day? Didn’t God design people with a strong need for fellowship, both spiritual and human?
The secular world would have us believe that rest is a waste of time: that time is money, money is influence, influence is power and power is everything. But God has said through his Word. “Be still, and know that I am God.” If people are not focused on God, our purpose will never be made clear. We will merely continue to rush around never finding peace. Even if an individual does settle down long enough to accept salvation he, or she, may lack the discipline to take quiet moments to come to know God intimately, and may never discover the tremendous joy found in a growing awareness of the heavenly Father.
Stubbornly, my husband and I have clung to the pattern of Sunday living that we experienced when we were children. In our home, with no planned agenda for Sunday, the family attends church and sits down to the best meal of the week by 1:00. The meal is sometimes followed by playing ball, a board game or watching sports. But if the mood is especially lazy, there might be relaxed conversation from a range of subjects that have no rhyme or reason. Often, those that had been too full for dessert can later be found sitting around with empty dessert plates and sticky fingers. It seems that along with weekly worship, sharing the remainder of the Lord’s Day helps to develop family values.
It’s those values that are being lost all across this continent as Sunday becomes just another workday. Sometimes it appears that Sunday might eventually become the favored blue-light special day, the two-for-one special day, and the double coupon day. Will more signs begin to read OPEN SUNDAY?
It breaks my heart, but not my spirit. For God has given his people the Indwelling Holy Spirit that sustains us as others exchange Christian heritage for the almighty buck. If everyone could only realize who God is and that he offers the world the greatest special – eternal life – then more signs would read; CLOSED SUNDAY – SEE YOU IN CHURCH.
4-91 The Church Herald, RCA Magazine – Merged – Copyright 2017 by the Christian Century. What’s Happened to Sunday by Susanne Box Elenbaas is reprinted by permission from the 04-1991 issue of Christian Century. Cover Jack Brouwer