I’m not, I think, a signer up to campaigns! I think there is an activist streak to me – as I hope there is to many of my friends and colleagues – but perhaps early middle age has brought both a wider (and perhaps even wiser) perspective combined worryingly with a pinch of complacency.I really do wonder which battles are worth fighting for and what is the best use of energy in order to effect difference.I have been much sobered by a challenge she shared with me recently ‘what difference are you making?‘
One campaign that I signed up to and attracted some very sharp criticism from some of my more attractive secular friends was the keep Sunday special campaign.You may remember it some time ago? It was an attempt to encourage communities, families and the wider society to respect the sabbath day, the first day of the week, as a day of rest, refreshment and for those of us who wanted to, a day of worship. Of course it failed and the result – Sunday is now a day like all others – and even on the roads sometimes busier. Shops are open – there is freedom and absolute self-determination – with little sense of any differentiation.
Perhaps it has done no harm – but I’m not convinced or sure of this. I cannot turn the clocks back but as I write I see crowds of people pouring into Windsor from the station, noise and activity of the day – most, I guess, oblivious to the origins of Sunday and its meaning and significance for religious people. I know that we do not convince people by standing aside, judging and criticising, to demand that we be treated differently but the loss of the feel and shape of Sunday I think has had profound spiritual effects on us all.
So what do I want?
1. For us to so travel through the week that we have a stronger sense of rhythm and pattern and cycle.
2. To have more differentiation between boundaries where work does not impinge on everything; where there is space for us and the things that matter.
3. To cherish and celebrate a sabbath day.This does not mean inflicting religion on individuals but by perhaps offering some space within which people might attend to their interior lives.Time out from the individualistic, consumerist and materialist world perhaps?
Today has been an extraordinary privilege.Worship, people, celebration of new life and so much very more. Life in the context of our trust and faith in God who loves us and journeys with us through all the ups and downs of life… Belief that a Sunday marks a conviction that much of our flourishing can find its place in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.time to dig deeper into wisdom and to ask questions (as a colleague of mine did today) about truth – truth that we can live by and truth that might even be able to help us die by.
I love Sundays and long for a shift so that others can drink deeply of its spiritual opportunity.