There is this trend right now on social media to post pictures with the hashtag “Sunday Funday.” Here I am at the beach: #sundayfunday. Here’s me and my dog on a hike: #sundayfunday! Here were are at brunch: #sundayfunday!
I have a confession: #sundayfunday really annoys me. Because I’m a pastor. And none of these pictures are from church.
If you just finished posting about your #sundayfunday picnic at the park, I’m not hating. Firstly because some of the people I love most have posted these same pictures. But secondly because I’ve realized that #sundayfunday is actually deeply true.
Except it started out #saturdayfunday. (Not the same ring to it, huh?)
In Genesis 2:1-3 God has just finished a pretty big work week, during which God created the whole world. So God decides to do something wonderful: rest. God takes the day off.
Is there anything better than rest after some good, hard work? To enjoy a cold beverage on the back porch after mowing the lawn? To sleep in after completing your last exam for the school year?
In God’s infinite goodness, God decided not to keep this to himself. God gave the gift of a day of rest – “Sabbath” – as the fourth of the ten commandments. In Exodus 20 it’s explained that we rest because God rested, and we’re created in God’s image. In Deuteronomy 5 we’re told to rest because God freed us from slavery – we don’t work ourselves to death anymore.
But obviously something changed. We don’t post #saturdayfunday pictures. That’s because when Jesus rose from the dead, it wasn’t the last day of the week but the first: Sunday. The early church began worshiping on Sunday to remember the Resurrection, and over time, that became the standard day for Christians to set aside for church and rest.
Jesus didn’t just change the day that we Sabbath, but also the way that we Sabbath. He had a distinctively non-legalistic way of observing the fourth command. Instead of NO WORK EVER NEVER, Jesus sometimes plucked grain or healed on God’s day (Mark 2-3). When asked by the religious leaders to explain himself, he said things like “the Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the Sabbath,” and, “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
So when we set aside Sunday as a funday for rest and time with God, we can keep Jesus’ example in mind. This might be especially helpful for those who have to work on Sunday. The important part is the intention, not to create a set of rules about what counts as work and what doesn’t, and certainly not to use those rules to justify judging others.
In short: Sabbath = Rest + God. That’s it.
But some of us are so long out of the habit of “Sabbath” that it’s hard to imagine what such a day would even look like. If you’re one of those people, the congregation of Andrews UMC has a gift for you in the form of two lists we brainstormed in church together.
The first component of Sabbath is rest, so we asked ourselves, “How do we rest?” Here’s what we came up with:
- Listening to peaceful music
- Sleep, especially naps
- Fishing (even if you don’t catch anything)
- Reading a good book
- Sharing a good meal with good friends
- Sit on a creek bank
- Front porch rocking
- Think about good things
- Write a letter to a friend
- Turn off the TV
- Watch birds
- Enjoying the quiet
The second component of Sabbath is time with God. When we considered the ways we draw close to God, here’s what we thought of:
- Read the Bible
- Visit family
- Block everything else out besides God
- Go to church
- Prayer and praise
- Giving thanks (especially at the end of the day)
- Trying to be a better Christian
- Get outside
- Sunday drives
- Let go
- Being especially sad or especially happy
- The sacraments
Your lists might look very different, and that’s OK. If you are resting and setting aside time for God, then you are obeying the fourth command. (And what a great command it is.)
So go and obey God. Be like God by setting aside a day for holy rest, whatever that means for you. Go and make it a #SundayFunday.