Faith and Life,  General

The Seventh Day

“God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work He had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:3)

Standing in the garden earlier this morning, I was struck by how quiet everything was. There was very little road traffic and so it was beautifully quiet – just the sound of the thrushes, roosting in the trees at the back of the garden. The morning had a very ‘still’ feel. The drizzle was falling gently and silently and the grass was glistening with a scattering of tiny wet diamonds, which captured and reflected the gentle light of the morning and caused the blades to bend slightly.

Even without any prior knowledge, I would have known it was a Sunday morning. Sundays are a different kind of day. They sound different. They feel different. They are filled with different things – ‘Sunday things’.

Historically, these ‘Sunday things’ have revolved around the worship of God – this means we take time out of our normal routines and devote some time to formal communal worship at Church, usually in the morning. After this, we rest – following the example of the Almighty. Work is already over for the week, not to return until the following day, so we can occupy ourselves with other pursuits.

Sundays are a chance to recharge ourselves in a sense. It is often a day for family, of gathering together and perhaps eating a meal together. In my childhood, this was always the case; Sunday dinner was the highlight of the week and often consisted of a beautifully cooked roast chicken with every conceivable trimming and accompaniment, including a nice dessert. It was a proper meal, because we viewed Sunday as a special sort of day, unlike the others. Even the Sunday evenings in those days had a different quality, filled as they were with the sense that the ‘normal’ week would not resume until the following day.

Nowadays, I’m not sure Sundays are seen in this way quite so broadly as they once were – and I think we have lost something special because of this. Perhaps I am just showing my age and feeling nostalgic for times past.

Be that as it may, today’s Sundays are much more like every other day, just without the need to be at work – although for a great many people this element, too, is no different to the rest of the week and work remains a necessity. Long gone are the days when everything was closed.

I like to try to keep Sundays just that little bit different – a pleasing family dinner and spending time just being quiet, perhaps reading or a little writing here in the study. Often, visiting my sister and her family, or having them visit me. And Church, of course. Always Church. Mass in the morning, and the parish Holy Hour in the late afternoon. These two serve to remind me that this seventh day is still set apart, that my mind should be on other things, higher things, things outside myself and my normal everyday life.

Although Sundays are set apart, there is the sense that something from each Sunday has to be carried with me into the rest of the week – this one single day needs to touch the other six in some real way. Sundays are like the little hug that encompasses the other days, giving them something of it’s own peacefulness, quiet and calm. Sundays offer balance to everything else.

And so on this particular Sunday, I shall go and look at the unread books on the shelve and for the next few hours, I will sit peacefully and simply enjoy the blessing this day offers me.

I pray that your Sunday may offer you something similar.

Catholic | Retired Nurse | UK

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