Do you remember the Sabbath Day?
I long for the Sunday afternoons of my youth. Now, I did like professional football much better then, and enjoyed falling asleep on the couch watching the Vikings or Packers on television. But that’s not the reason. And, although I always appreciated my mom’s wonderful after-church meals, that’s not it either.
I liked having stores closed on Sundays. I appreciated a time with fewer alternatives. I didn’t have to decide which mall to shop at to eradicate my boredom. It was squarely on my shoulders to find something to do.
Nothing can so quickly divide our attention from God’s grace than the rigors of the market.
It did require planning ahead. There were no last minute runs to get toilet paper on Sunday. You better have thought ahead.
But, primarily, I was thankful to have a time when I wasn’t captivated by capitalism. For one day each week, I was more than a consumer.
I believe that’s the intention of the commandment to remember what the holy day means. It is not simply a rule, a law, meant to grate against our ability to have fun on Sundays or watch football. No, the restriction ensures that we have some respite from the demands of the marketplace.
The second commandment was the first regulatory effort on capitalism!
Nothing can so quickly divide our attention from God’s grace than the rigors of the market. On the walk home from church each Sunday, I go by a Target, a Cub Foods, a Rainbow Foods, a bakery, a bowling alley, and a chain restaurant. While I am contemplating the choir’s anthem or the pastor’s sermon (or listening to my daughters contemplating the same outloud), I am being screamed at to remember the toilet paper, the kitty litter, the football game on TV (which I can watch at the bowling alley but not at my house since the conversion to digital; the television is in the garage now).
Should we return to the Blue Law days of our not-too-distant past? I suppose that isn’t realistic. It is tough to put the genie back in the bottle.
But, as Advent and the Christmas Season are upon us, I find myself strangely excited to live by the commandment, to resist the temptation that is constant consumption.