When I was in elementary school, Mom made the world’s best fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy for Sunday lunch. After filling ourselves so full we could barely walk, we hung around the house for the rest of the day. We played quiet games and whacked each other with soft sticks, because if we woke Dad from his Sunday nap we might soon experience the streets of gold our pastor preached about in church that morning.
Some Sundays we drove to visit old relatives who lied and told me how much I grew, just so they could pinch my cheeks. Escaping outside, my brothers and I played hide-and-seek in the barn, chased chickens, yelled at cows, climbed stacks of hay, and broke things. Aunt Sigred then served a meal bigger than Thanksgiving and Christmas combined. I spied mountains of meat and potatoes as I walked around the table, my hands grabbing toward a piece of freshly-baked bread. We were placed about the house in stiff chairs with the feast set before us on standing wooden trays. “You’d better eat it all — there’s starving kids in India!”
When evening came, we were filed into the dim living room — adults seated on couches and recliners and kids flung in the center of the floor on a large, round, hand-woven rug — to watch “The Ed Sullivan Show” on a black-and-white TV about the size of a small napkin. “Don’t sit too close, you’ll ruin your eyes!” Instead I walked into a land of blue skies, meadows, and moving waterfalls on a motion lamp atop the television. Later we were herded into the now darkened farmyard and piled in our car for the long ride home. From the front seat the quiet hush of my parents’ voices brought me comfort as the car edged down the highway. “Be still. Go to sleep.” Those Sunday night drives — four boys without a care squeezed in the back of Dad’s old Chevy — brought some of the deepest sleeps I have ever experienced.
The ease of Sunday replenished us for Monday. The Bible talks about a “Sabbath rest” similar to the rhythm of the Sunday worship, rest, and companionship that I experienced as a child. Sunday sets the pace for Monday. Monday through Friday need all the help they can get. I often cram too much into my week and then become hyper and frantic about things that don’t really matter. I forget that I can make choices for peace, rest, and worship each day. Yet, I’m only as busy as I choose to be. Gordon MacDonald suggests we gain rest as we carve “Sabbath moments” into each day. Monday through Friday can contain pieces of Sunday — of worship and rest — if I choose.
Each day of the week, busyness is expected and rewarded. Meanwhile, multi-tasking has made me inattentive and unfocused. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I can’t spare the time. God whispers, “Be still . . .” How will everything get done? “Be still and know . . . ,” is His quiet response. But the day is already spinning out of control! “Be still and know that I am God.” In the quiet hush of a Father’s voice comes comfort on the darkest day. His words bring the ease of Sunday to replenish me on Monday.
Calvin G. Roso © January 2014
*Gordon MacDonald, Restoring Your Spiritual Passion, 1986.