Exodus 20:8-11

“Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.” Exodus 20:8-11

There were two drugstores in my hometown. They took turns being open on Sunday. Virtually everything else was closed. As a kid, that officially made Sundays the most boring days of the week.

Most of the businesses on our main street closed at 5:00 PM. Except on Thursday nights when they were open until 9:00 PM. That made Thursday nights the best nights of the week.

Did those old blue laws (so named, according to Wikipedia, because the word blue was used in the 17th century as a disparaging reference to rigid moral codes and those who observed them) keep the Sabbath any holier? Was our country any less violent, racist, greedy, or materialistic back in the day?

The Thor was the first electric-powered washing machine. It was introduced in 1908 by the Hurley Machine Company of Chicago, Illinois. The Thor was a drum type washing machine with a galvanized tub and an electric motor. A patent was issued on August 9th 1910. The first washing machine I remember in our house wasn’t much more advanced. You had to wring the clothes out by hand. I once tested the wringer with my finger. The wringer won.

People used to wash their clothes when they were dirty. Maybe once a week for the clothes that sat next to the skin. Maybe never for sweaters and outerwear. Now we wear it once and wash it. (Actually I don’t and Kelley thinks that is disgusting but I grew up having to wash my own clothes and old habits die hard.) Are we any better off now when we wash everything immediately?

I remember one phone mounted on the kitchen wall. If no one was home, it didn’t get answered. Now I sleep with my cell phone as my alarm clock. Does this make me a better pastor?

Henry Ford was a revolutionary when he suggested a 40 hour work week, down from 48 hours. He wasn’t the first to recognize that productivity went down with too many work hours. No doubt those accustomed to 10-16 hours a day, six days a week, welcomed the change…and no doubt those who paid their workers resented the cost. Today I don’t know anyone who works 40 hours a week. Instead, I know people who get to the office at 6:00 AM in order to get something done so they can work until after 7:00 PM so the traffic dies down for their commute home. Has this added to our quality of life?

God creates us. God knows best. God knows that rest is as holy as work. And when we rest, God wants to have some time set aside to spend with each other around hearing God’s Word, being a part of the life of a community, and remembering what matters in life. Is that really too much to ask?

Just because the stores are open doesn’t mean we have to go shopping.

If you are too busy for worship on Sunday the problem isn’t Sunday.

And if a service that starts at 10:50 AM doesn’t leave room for you to sleep in, then you were out far too late on Saturday night.

I’m just saying….

Let us pray: Dear Lord, thank you for setting aside time in our lives for rest. Thank you for the holiness of rest and the holiness of work. Thank you for opportunities to remember that we are human beings, not human doings, and that we do have the freedom to manage our time with balance and care. And please forgive those of us who have to work on Sundays. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

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4 Responses to “Exodus 20:8-11”

  1. Marthe Hildreth Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement to obey. Don’t forget some of those who have to work Sundays are protecting us. They really need more blessing.

  2. Michelle Says:

    Amen!
    Thank you for the time you take doing these morning devotions. I understand that it adds to your workload and I just wanted to say thank you, from a Catholic who lives all the way in Medford Oregon 🙂

  3. Georgene Says:

    God has done so much for me. How little it takes to give this one day to Him. And I ditto Michelle’s thoughts.

  4. Rita Wade Says:

    Thanks for reminding us that’s there’s nothing inherently magic about Sunday. If most of the congregation works on Sunday, how about a mid-week – like Wednesday service. The point is we need time to reflect on what God has provided — a safe place to sleep, eat and neighbors to help out and time to spend with family, thanking God for them. We need to try to step outside ourselves and the immediate life we are in right now — listen to the Bible readings and the message the Pastor has prepared and then, after a rest stop, go back on the super highway of life, refreshed and ready to spend the time it takes to do our share in the world.

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