Sunday is a peculiar day of the week for me. I know the obvious reasons for its stand-alone importance relative to the other days of the week. It’s the first day of the week, it’s the Sabbath, therefore, a resting day appointed by God. (At least the modern way it is recognized.)
Sunday is more than that for me. You see, me and Sunday have had what you might call a stormy past.
When I was young it was church on Wednesday and twice on Sunday. Going to church wasn’t an option… Oh my parents said it was, but somehow when I tried to exercise my option it ended with, “GET IN THE CAR!” I thought when I was young, “Boy, just wait till I’m a grown up, I’m NEVER goin ta’ church!”
Time seemed to pass slowly, but eventually I did grow up and true to my word, I quit “Goin ta’ church.” During my dark years God’s Spirit hounded me. I hated Sundays, I was moving at light speed through the week, and could have been considered the epitome of “Burning The Candle At Both Ends.” Given the chance I’d work 15 hours a day on Sundays. Eventually, I’d find myself stopping with nowhere to run and no place to hide… Alone with the Holy Spirit torturing my soul.
During those days if I happened to hear just the right song and I was alone, the pain in my soul would manifest itself with moisture in my eyes.
I remember a specific song written by Kris Kristofferson, sung by Johnny Cash. The song is “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” That song for whatever reason stirred up the memories of my childhood and made me long to live a better life than the one I was trapped in.
These days Sunday is still peculiar for me although for different reasons. It doesn’t feel like the first day of the week to me, it feels more like the last day of the week. It is my day of reflection, it is my rest from the last week, not my rest for the next week.
I’m not running from God anymore and I have a different focus when I share the Bible story of Jonah. I don’t dwell as much on the miracle of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and sitting in the whale’s stomach for three symbolic days. I focus more on the fact that Jonah physically tried to run from God and the wisdom that he ultimately gained in the process. Proven by the fact that Jonah penned the story himself.
Running from God seems like “chasing the wind.” It is futile, but not to a lost world or a madman…
Occasionally my girls would want a day off from Church, sometimes we’d give it to them. Other times my wife and I would explain to them that it wasn’t the ritual of going to Church that honored God. It is the obedience and sacrifice of our time to show thanks and respect to God. Similar to a tithe offering, we’re going to give, not to get. In that process, we gain more than we can ever give. In a humble state of being before God is where we find Him.
God has used my foolishness to give me a bit of wisdom. I’m no Solomon, but I’m wise enough to warn the young people in my life that with free will comes choices. With choices come consequences, either positive or negative. I remind them that God is in control, He either causes or allows all things in life. I don’t want them to carry the spiritual and physical scars of an undisciplined life. It is my deepest desire to not have them wander this earth as the walking wounded.
It grieves me to think of a cold wind blowing across the faces of the tormented souls with tears in their eyes on Sundays because they hear church bells ringing in the distance.