I GREW up during the era of Sundays being our Sacred Sabbath. Therefore, we weren’t allowed to go to the park (the swings were tied up), ride our bikes, or even watch television. Instead, Sundays were set apart for going to Church (usually three times a day).
 
Thankfully, my mum found freedom from such strict rules and regulations. Recently, these childhood memories came flooding back as I listened to a radio debate as to whether football matches should be allowed on Sundays. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sundays. I have worked in a number of churches and have always enjoyed the time set apart to worship and gather together. Many strict ‘Sabbath Observers’ often quote how God created the Earth in six days and on the seventh day he rested; reminding us of Exodus 20: 8: ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,’ as to why we should keep Sundays sacred.

However, let’s remember that Sabbath was a Saturday in Jewish Culture, and Constantine (Rome’s first Christian Emperor) was the one to officially declare Sundays (based on the resurrection) as a day of rest. Perhaps, the actual day regarding rest is not what is most important, but rather the focus should be on the rhythm and practice of rest. In other words, in the midst of our busyness, it is important that we find time to rest, be still, reflect, get nourished, and connect to others.
 
Of course, this includes supporting and celebrating with those of us who love to go to church on Sundays, but we must be careful not to judge those who don’t. Jesus was Jewish and went to the synagogue, and He even celebrated holy days such as Passover. But let’s not forget that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, much to the annoyance of his religious critics. I think the life and ministry of Jesus reminds us that there is no sacred and secular divide. He constantly challenged structures that oppressed and excluded. Yes, those of us who have faith must be deliberate about spending time to connect to God and to other Christians. Yes, we must be deliberate about rhythms of rest. But let’s not forget that God is too big to be confined to any church building on a Sunday.
 
• God is present on the football pitch.
• God is present in the hospital ward.
• God is present in the supermarket or your place of work.
• God is present when we are with our families and friends.
• God is not confined to a church building on a Sunday.
 
In short, where you are- God is present. May we be deliberate about building Sabbath time into our busy schedules. May we be deliberate about taking time out to rest.