The Pope Says…

that work and business free Sundays are a good idea for the faithful and non faithful.  He’s right. Even if you don’t take time off for religious observances on Sunday, a day free from business and hard work is recuperative, strengthening, and helpful. Those old “Sabbath” laws have, I believe, a basis not just as spiritual exercises but as a good for the sake of the whole human being. Work? Yes. But not all the time, ever day, and everywhere.

I do remember as a child noticing that almost everything was shut down in my hometown in Wisconsin on Sundays. Basic services like police, fire, and hospitals were, of course, up and running but not much else. I’m not sure that even all of the gas stations were open. Sunday was a church day, a family day, a day to exhale from the past week and rest for the one to come.

Fast forward to now where commerce and business is a 24 hour a day, seven days a week, proposition. We chase money all day, every day, and never seem to have any time to catch our breath. Even Orthodox Christians will keep the shop or restaurant open on Sundays, sometimes skipping Liturgy and valuable rest to squeeze out another dollar or two from the public. Why? I suppose because that’s the prevailing wind these days but sometimes the crowd is wrong and even the breeze that blows strongest is a foul one.

God asked us to take a day to rest. No, as Orthodox Christians we are not obliged to be as specific and detailed about the whole thing as our Jewish ancestors decided to be. Yet, the principle still remains. Take a day to rest, to make room for God, to be with those who are closest to you. A hundred years from now nobody will care that your place was opened up on Sunday, but giving time to things that matter, the things eternal, will make a difference now and bless you forever.

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