“Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work- you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.”
(This meditation is a preview of the upcoming bible study on the 10 Commandments. If you would like to register for this bible study, you may do so under upcoming events.)
From 7th – 12th grade I went to St. Simon's Island to participate in a regional youth assembly. Every year there was this huge billboard off of the highway which read: “Saturday is the Lord's day. Sunday is the sign of the devil.” We would always laugh as we passed it and would always read it out loud, saying the last part in the best fake scary voice we could muster. It was similar to an episode of Parks and Recreation where Ben needed to make a campaign video for Leslie Knopp and they practice saying the competitor's name. I'm sure when the billboard was put up, no one was thinking a bunch of kids from a church would be saying, “Sign of the devil” over and over again whenever they saw it. I am also fairly confident that would horrify the ones who commissioned the billboard. While I would eventually worship on Saturdays, (There was a contemporary worship at the church I was attending.) I never really considered my time with God to be dictated by a Western Calendar. Yet, the billboard got to me.
I would spend over a decade trying to understand the fourth commandment and what following it meant. My first choice was a strict prohibition on calendars that were not made by myself. Why? Because I would put Sunday as the seventh day. I was seriously zealous over it. If a teacher or leader would give me a calendar I would remake it. When I made calendars for groups (from my youth ministry days) were all Monday to Sunday. Perhaps I struggled with honoring my Mother and Father, but I was going to worship on the Sabbath!
Then my theology was put to the test. It was my birthday, and just for fun, I wanted to know on what day I was born. Come to find out, Friday. Well, if I was born on a Friday, wouldn't my seventh day really be Thursday? My faith was put the test. What was I going to do? Disciples of Christ churches are never open on Thursday, some not even Maundy Thursday. I had to go back to a traditional calendar, and was horrified when I realized Jesus didn't rise on the seventh day, but the first. Even Christ, in death, rested on Saturday.
Before I went any further, I knew what I wasn't going to do. I wasn't going to become Seventh Day Adventist and I wasn't going to become a Messianic Jew. What's a gal to do? I shelved by zealotry and moved on with my life, trusting in Christ's redeeming love.
It would only be with a seminary education under my belt would I be able to return to this commandment with a clear heart and mind.
What I take from this commandment today is not some scary billboard on the side of the road. Today I see a commandment of celebration and inclusion. The point isn't about whether I set aside Saturday, Sunday or even Thursday to remember God's awesome act of creation, it's the fact that I do it.