Sunday is just a big ole’ Funday

Published 5:26 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2019

By Charles Qualls

I didn’t grow up in a democracy where Sundays were concerned. Most of you probably didn’t, either.

Where Sundays were concerned, there was no “Are we going to church today?” We just went. Because that’s what we did. Every week. Most of you probably did too. After lunch at Morrison’s cafeteria, we went home. There was no work done, because you didn’t do that on Sunday. Our Christian Sabbath.

On the occasions my Dad did brave trying to slip outside for some chore, he re-entered the house to the cold and scowling gaze of my Mother whose silent speech breathed judgment upon his misdeeds. Now a day of rest ensued.

We fell asleep to some epic Bible movie with Charlton Heston as Moses or Ben Hur. Maybe the occasional Army flick or a Western, all of which seemed to star John Wayne.

When we awoke, supper. “Wonderful World of Disney.” More rest. Movie theaters were closed. You couldn’t be seen by the neighbors outside lest they catch you working. Stores and shopping centers were closed.

It was Sunday. Sabbath. The Lord’s Day. I am Baptist enough to understand that the “Blue Laws” needed to go away. You don’t need to legislate faith into practice.

Somehow, over the years we’ve lost that as a culture. Now, Sunday is just a big ole Funday. A bonus Saturday. Which is why the work world, and Little League, have crept in and begun to take our Sundays. Because we aren’t much using them as holy days anymore.

In Exodus 20: 8-11, we hear a pretty clear and direct instruction. Our self-proclaimed jealous God has laid claim to a day of the week. We are to remember God, worship and honor God. We are to gather with others who are there to do the same.

You hear people say these days this phrase “Sunday Funday.” You also see those words on social media a lot, as more and more of our friends and family simply don’t attend church any more. At least maybe not nearly as often.

You see “Sunday Funday” T-shirts and hats. It’s the way people summarize that one last day of the weekend, and all they did on this day that didn’t include coming to church. We actually used to consider it the very “first” day of the week. Our calendars are still displayed and printed that way. With Sunday as day one of the week.

If we are to understand just how badly God wants us to keep the Sabbath, and to gather intentionally to practice worship on the Sabbath, then the Decalogue or Ten Commandments just might hold more importance for us than we tend to realize.

“You shall have no other gods before me” is the beginning, and at least one writer I read believes this single “command” as we like to call it actually sets the context for all the others.

God is God. We are not. Not only shall we not worship graven or other objects, including cars, jobs, homes, children, status, clothes, purses or money. Neither are we god either. Which really is what brought us to our topic today, and the lie our culture tells us. Sunday is just a big ole’ Funday!

Does one have to come to a church in order to keep the Sabbath holy? I suppose if something important, or beyond your control, kept you one week from coming to church then you could of course spend time with God and it turn out to be quite sacred.

Philosophically, you could. I don’t really live life philosophically, though. The Bible is a story of gathered faith. It is not a tale of God-and-me. The imperfect church is bound to remain so because she is comprised of flawed humans. She is the best we have, despite her limitations.

I want you to enjoy your Sundays. I want to enjoy mine, although I can assure you mine are quite different from yours. There’s no way you’ll be here in town for 100 percent of them. I get that.

But I beg you, resist the lie. Sunday is a sacred day. A restful and reflective day. A restorative and healing day. It is many things. But it is not just a big ole Funday. Being at church won’t rob you of down time, and it just may restore you for all of your times.

THE REV. DR. CHARLES QUALLS is senior pastor at Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 562-5135.