On being totally out of sync
We operate under the cadence of a seven-day week. Sure, there have been attempts to change the natural order, but they never work. Even the diabolical Stalin eventually had to bow to that fact. He tried his best to circumvent the rhythm, adopting first a five-day week, then a six, but both failed. Maybe if he’d left any Bibles (or Christians) around, he could have saved himself the trouble. That’s because a quick fact check in Genesis reveals that the idea of a week was never ours. It’s a timetable God ordained at the very beginning.
From the fifth floor at the Methodist Rehab Center, I can see that notion played out clearly on a rainy Sunday morning. Traffic on Woodrow Wilson is negligible. No students crowd the campus at Murrah High. Construction equipment outside Blair E. Batson sits dormant. The parking lot where my dad’s Avalon sits is sparsely populated. Even therapy sessions at this premier facility stutter to a halt.
The whole world knows that man was not meant to work continuously.
You have time to think of such things on days that have you totally out of sync. I am usually right side, fourth row in a church pew on Sunday mornings. It feels odd to search out a worship service on a channel, and odder still to try to participate in one. Do I sing out loud? Close my eyes when they pray? Is it OK to eat my sandwich during the sermon?
A nurse comes in to take my mother’s blood pressure, and I tell her that I am sorry she has to work on Sunday. I am sorry she must miss church.
“It’s OK,” she waves me off. “I’m off every other week.”
Little consolation. I lived the “every other week” life of a law officer’s wife for many years. One lady who managed to visit our church on the opposite weeks of my husband’s attendance later told me the sad truth: “I thought you were a widow, lined up there with a row of kids.”
There are required works of necessity, and taking blood pressure readings and catching bad guys are some of them. I get that. But at the same time, the seven-day cadence stops for no man. We were made for rest, and we were made for worship.
These days, there are some religious circles that debate such things. (The day of worship part. The resting seems to be a perpetual given). Not just the how and the why of worship, but the when. Does God require a day, they ask? There’s this thing called the new covenant to consider, after all.
Truth is, I once witnessed a church split over the issue. That’s right, split in half over how to keep the Lord’s Day.
(Some of you right now are shaking your heads and thinking that’s crazy. Well, 50 years ago, folks would have thought playing ball and going to Walmart on Sunday was crazy, too. Suggesting a Saturday evening service? Downright heretical.)
And while greater minds than mine have wrestled over the fourth commandment for centuries, I am personally convinced that what God says about it isn’t small potatoes. There are some slippery slopes worth contemplating deeply, especially when providentially placed at a window on the fifth floor at the Methodist Rehab Center.
On a Sunday.
Kim Henderson is a freelance writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.