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Category: journeys

The Seventh Day

Posted in journeys

I have a busy schedule. Rehearsals to attend, meetings to prepare for, work to complete. I often spend my weekends driving across various states, with various bags in my trunk for each of my various appointments. When I get home late Sunday night, I unpack my car and say, “I could use another day just to relax.”

Where did we go wrong?

So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.
—Genesis 2:3

Recently, I had a Sunday afternoon to relax. We cleared the schedule, and I sat on the couch in comfortable clothes. That Sunday had been declared a “day of rest,” but… I didn’t know what to do. I needed a schedule. Or a suggestion. I had a book in my purse, and a video game console in front of me, but I still didn’t know how to occupy those few hours. It was at that point that I realized how completely off the mark I’ve been.

Even God Himself, in the beginning, rested. He created the entirety of the universe, with all the planets and its animals and human life, and then… He took a break. On the seventh day, He rested. Who are we to think we don’t need that, too? From the days of Moses, God commanded that we, too, rest: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8) This isn’t a mere suggestion. It’s one of the ten commandments, right up there with honoring God. Don’t have other gods, don’t murder people, do honor your parents, and take a break.

I often wondered why Christians don’t follow the Sabbath rule, as commanded. Truth is, the early Church did. When Christianity was still a blossoming religion—probably before the word “Christian” was even a thing—they still identified as Jewish. Therefore nothing should interfere with the Sabbath, and church as we know it was held on the following day instead. As much as I’d like to honor both, that’s a lot of downtime for someone as busy as me. Besides, God didn’t command two resting days. That’s just lazy. I’ll take the Sunday, with my fellow Christians. (But maybe petition taking back the Sabbath like we’re instructed.)

Resting isn’t easy. When someone asks when I’m available, Sunday is tempting to fill. I am, after all, usually busy the rest of the week. But after that recent day of rest, I better understood why it’s required. I woke that Monday feeling refreshed and ready for the week, rather than slogging through the morning. I wasn’t wishing for another day in the weekend to recoup. After all, that’s the entire point of Sunday to begin with.

So I’ve tried. I’ve turned down invitations for Sunday affairs. I’ve limited the day’s activities to those that better life, both mine and for those around me. Spend the afternoon reading. Or play an instrument. Or attend a concert. I would like to even cut out Internet use, for its endless hours of wasted time.

I’ll slip up sometimes. I’ll have a meeting I can’t avoid, or get home late and go straight to bed. But little by little, I’ll clear the schedule. I’ll make it to Sunday Mass, rather than squeezing it in on Saturday night. To invitations, I’ll say, “Sorry, I can’t; it’s Sunday.” Of all things in my ever-busy schedule, I didn’t think honoring a day of rest would be the most difficult. But as God rested, so shall I.