Sunday Rest

Sunday Rest

At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:1-2)

Read: Genesis 35:1-36:43, Matthew 12:1-21, Psalm 15:1-5, Proverbs 3:21-26

Relate: Reading the “Little House” books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder was a key factor in my literary development growing up. No, I am not talking about the TV show. I never saw much of that and the little I did see I hated because it was nothing like the books. I don’t remember exactly when I read the Little House series but my best guess would be third grade.

I can remember reading one of these books where Laura writes about the first real snowfall of the season. Unfortunately, this snowfall happened overnight on a Saturday evening. This is unfortunate because Sunday was “the Lord’s Day”. The family lived too far from civilization to be able to head out to church every Sunday. Instead there would be a family devotional and then some reading, or educational work, or quiet and rest and contemplation and… boring. My memory fails me on the details now but from what I remember, the kids had to sit around the house pretending to be deep into some book or whatever waiting, waiting, eternally waiting for Pa to fall asleep in his weekly nap. Once they did they all snuck outside for some snowballs and sledding and other wintry magical mayhem. Of course, when Pa wakes up and discovers what they have done, the switch will come out.

I never did get a switch, but I did get at various times the hand, the boot, the paddle, and once even a metal spoon (that was bent beyond all practical use after coming into contact with my “old ironside”). I know memory distorts but I firmly believe that a vast proportion of my spankings were dished out on a Sunday. It would probably be reasonable to say half my family discipline came as a result of my lack of self-discipline on Sundays. I was ADD long before it became popular to diagnose and medicate (poison) what was simply called “rowdy” in more reasonable times. Beyond that I was part of an inner city church where it seemed that all the boys my age came from a much rougher, far less loving home situation. It wasn’t until my teen years that I started to appreciate Sundays.

React: I could also sympathize with Jesus and His disciples. It seems that every time they turned around all the religious fanatics were yelling at them for doing one thing or another on the Sabbath. Can you imagine those Pharisees in a modern day setting? You can’t open a fridge door or oven unless you turned off that automatic light beforehand. Turning on a light constitutes work. So does tearing so you better make sure you have enough pre-torn tp squares in the bathroom so you are ready to make it through a Saturday.

I have gone on enough holidays where I returning thinking I need a holiday to recover from my holiday. Sure, I might have had a lot of fun and made some great memories but it wasn’t a “holiday”. It wasn’t rest. When we pile rules and regulations and requirements on our religious remembrances then we are definitely doing it wrong. Sunday is supposed to be fun day for Christians more than anybody. I mean, those poor disciples were just hungry. That’s all. Give them a rest.

Respond: 

God, sometimes there is a part of me that cannot handle the freedom You have given me. I seem to have this overwhelming need to regulate. I need to restrict. Help me to have the wisdom to understand that having the freedom to do what is good does not mean I am now a slave to propriety. Give me the courage to live in Your liberty and and the strength to find Your rest while still maintaining grace for others still burdened by a legalism they mistake as piety.

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8 thoughts on “Sunday Rest

  1. Great post today. I enjoy the daily devotionals of The River Walk very much. Growing up in a small church in rural Texas, I was an unruly child on Sundays and even into teenage years (like slipping out the back door during The Lord’s Prayer with BFF and going to the café to get a soda). Much of my musings come from memories and times from that small town and that little church and how important it was/is in my life’s journey. Thank you for the inspirations. When someone responded to one of my blog posts asking if BFF and I still sing in the choir like in high school, my response was “Our Mama’s made us sing in the choir so they could watch us.” Whatever keeps one on the path, right?

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