Thursday, August 28, 2008

...about the Lord's Day

I didn't get yesterday's paper but this was supposed to be in it.

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
What does this mean?
We are to fear and love God, so that we do not despise preaching or God's word, but instead keep that word holy and gladly hear and learn it.

Those are words that I had to memorize in confirmation classes in my early teens. They come from Martin Luther's Small Catechism, a booklet he wrote in 1529 for families to use in their daily devotions to teach their children and remind themselves of some of the teachings in the Bible. The quotation above comes from his explanations of the Ten Commandments.

Now, I'm not a proponent of erecting a monument to the Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn, nor of posting them on a public school classroom wall. I think the teaching of the Ten Commandments, and other biblical teachings, belongs in the church, the synagogue, and the homes of believers. At the same time, a just and orderly society probably shouldn't have any quarrel with most of the commandments.

The commandments are a gift from God that describe the blessed way we can live because God loves us, sets us free, and promises to be with us. A few of the commandments deal with our relationship with God. The majority deal with our relationships with one another. So, does the commandment about setting apart a day of rest deal with our relationship with God, or with one another? Maybe both.

Daniel Erlander writes about the gift of Sabbath. He calls it "God's gift of time—time for resting, playing, singing, frolicking, feasting, praying, storytelling, and time for savouring friendships with God and others and nature." God let's us know that "the world will not fall apart if we don't work all the time (Exodus 20:8-11, 23:12). It doesn't even fall apart when God takes a day off (Genesis 2:1-3)."

God intends for us to rest some of the time. It's a gift! But it's a gift that so few of us use.

I was rather disappointed when I heard that we'd be having a second market day on Sundays. I get it. Some people have to work Friday mornings and can't go to the market. Well, from Port Colborne City Hall to Welland's Saturday market is a 14 km drive that should take about 17 minutes.

I also read that our Sunday market allows for an extra day of sales for a certain restaurant that had been otherwise closed on Sundays. So who has to give up their Sunday off to work the market now?

Another point I read was that with the Sunday market Port Colborne can expect the community to be more closely-knit. Why can't people knit themselves closer to one another at church on Sunday morning? If church isn't somebody's thing then why can't they brew some extra coffee and visit with their neighbour on the front porch?

We've been told that it'll only cost us about $1,100 for the remainder of 2008. I think it's costing us a lot more. Sunday is becoming no different from any other day of the week. How many establishments went under in the old days because they weren't open on Sunday, because people set that day apart as a day of rest? Now we're convinced that wide open shopping 7 days a week is a necessity. How long will it be until we're convinced that our city can't function without a Sunday market?

I love our Friday market. My wife and I go as often as we can and we enjoy meeting friends and getting to know the vendors and supporting our local farmers. I won't be going to the Sunday market. I'll be in church in the morning and spending the afternoon with my family. I will strive to keep Sunday as a day of rest, setting it apart, keeping it holy. I'll try to leave the spending of my money for the other 6 days of the week.

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