For all of my growing-up and adult life, Sunday has been anything but a “day of rest.” As a kid, we went to church service, but after that, it was always a day to catch up on homework, do chores, or have some sort of a family gathering. Not that any of these things are bad, mind you, but it was never a day to actually rest.
As an adult, Mark & I have always been involved in serving at church – and since church met on Sundays, it meant serving on Sundays. So Saturdays were our day to do chores & get caught up from the week, run errands, or whatever – but Sundays were not that much less filled, just because we were serving. I enjoy serving others, no matter what it looks like, so I wouldn’t stop – but Sunday was never a “day of rest” as my grandparents were told (and quite frankly, made to observe).
Our church recently added Saturday night services to accomodate the attendance boom we’re having – nearly 6,000 people on campus on a given weekend! We were encouraged to shift to Saturday night services and attend and serve at that time in order to give new people a space on Sundays. We hesitated for a bit – with this idea that Saturday would dramatically cut in to our “social lives.” (Aside: As if, in our current stage of life as parents, we actually HAVE a social life…!) Once we considered our situation realistically and realized that Saturdays would work for our family, we took the plunge.
The very first thing we noticed was that Sundays were glorious. I’m not a big sleeping-in type of person; I’m far more of a morning-girl and function best at that time of day. But the pressure being off to HAVE to get up and be at church by 840a? That just makes any time of sleeping past 630a feel luxurious. Instead of bugging my kid to get his teeth brushed and scarf down breakfast quickly, I found myself thinking about making a family breakfast. Mark & I are both non-breakfast-eaters (in general – we follow body cues for when to eat), so this was a stretch, but the time it took to make blueberry pancakes or eggs & toast was multiplied in a good way by the relaxing time we had around the table. Today, our son requested a “family breakfast” every week because it’s so enjoyable. I think I can oblige on this one. :)
But I think the most noticeable thing to me about Sundays now is that I actually relax. I might wake up at 700a or 730a, but we snooze in the afternoon and I find myself not caring quite so much about the chores that I know await me on Monday, willing to focus instead on the down-time that Sunday now provides. Even now, as I look at the clock and remember back a few months, I realize we would have just gotten home from church, and would be shooing our kid to a nap, feeling as though we had to hurry and snooze before the evening’s events were upon us. I like this better – we might still shoo the 9y/o to nap, but it doesn’t feel rushed or pressured in any way. I also don’t find myself dreading Monday quite as much – it used to be that I needed a weekend to recover from my weekend & hating facing Monday. Not anymore though. It’s an interesting change for me.
I’m not short-sighted enough to think that this change is permanent – we may, at some point, head back to serving and worshipping on Sundays. I hope, no matter what happens or how things change in the future, that I can maintain an attitude of resting one day per week. Maybe that day will shift to something other than Sundays; maybe not. But I’m really seeing the value of actually resting one day per week.
Right now though, I’m content to be where I am and to enjoy Sundays as I do. Relaxing.