Winsome Weekend Lenten Days 4 and 5

Posted: February 22, 2015 in Lent, Uncategorized, When Church Hurts
Tags: , , ,

I used to often remark that I go to work during the week in order to rest up from my weekends.  Saturdays were spent getting laundry, cleaning, and some cooking done because Sunday was a marathon.  We would get up at 5 a.m. so that we could leave home by 6:15.  We were expected at the church – a 35 minute drive – before 7 a.m.

Once there, my husband would start making coffee and getting the cafe set up for the morning.  He would spend the next five hours making lattes, chai teas, iced coffees, and whatever other manner of drink is available at most coffee bars.

I would head directly upstairs to the main kitchen to begin preparing the cinnamon rolls that were sold in the cafe.  They weren’t difficult since they were a pre-made, frozen roll, but by the time they were baked and iced, it would be approaching the start of the 8 a.m. service.

For the rest of the morning, I would assist in whatever way was needed at the cafe – sometimes making smoothies or serving up cinnamon rolls or doing dishes and wiping down tables.  Sometimes, I would enroll in a class which would run for 80-90 minutes.  Usually, I would go to the second service of the morning.  The paid staffer who was in charge of the cafe would go during this time no matter what was happening at the cafe – while my husband stayed to man the store.  Many times during this particular service, the cafe was understaffed, but the manager never wavered in her insistence that she go to the second service, so my husband was often there alone or with only one other helper.  And never did the manager say to my husband, “When are you going to the service?  You need to go with your wife.  I’ll stay here and go at another time.” (There were a total of 5 services every Sunday morning – some running concurrently or overlapping but in different areas.)

Often, by the time the last service ended around noon, we would be finishing up the last of the clean-up before we would finally leave.  We often then went somewhere to eat because by the time we would drive home and fix a meal, it would be well into mid-afternoon.  Also, we liked to visit my step-father on Sunday’s and to go home, fix a meal, and then leave again to make a 30 minute drive to visit him was an exhausting thought.

So our schedule was: Up at 5 a.m.  Leave home at 6:15 a.m.  Arrive at church by 7 a.m.  Finish at church at 12 – 12:30 p.m.  Go for dinner.  Head to my step-father’s at about 1:30.  Visit a couple of hours.  Head home at 3:30 – 4 p.m.  Arrive home at 4 – 5 p.m.

Our church leadership was big into encouraging people to take a “sabbath.”  It didn’t have to be on Sunday.  But everyone should have one day a week in which to “rest” and recharge.  For the church staff, this wasn’t Sunday.  Sunday was a work day for them.  So they had a sabbath day on another day of the week.  We had no argument with that.

But, after my ostracism of not being allowed to serve in the church was lifted, there was so much pressure to DO things for and at the church – and especially in ways that alleviated the work of the staff – such as the cafe and landscape work – and absolutely no thought for whether or not my husband and I were getting a “sabbath.”

It was so ingrained in us to work seven days a week – 5 at our jobs, one day at home keeping up with the house, laundry, yard work, repairs, etc., and Sunday at the church – that when we were tossed out of the church, it took a long time for us to finally slow our pace and eventually to reclaim a sabbath.

So, yesterday (Saturday) was spent getting laundry done, doing some cooking, grocery shopping, and a few other errands.  Today, is sabbath.

I’m enjoying working on a jigsaw puzzle.  I’ve watched some videos of my precious granddaughter.  I’ve emailed a friend and a family member.  I’ve called my step-father.  I’ve watched a movie (while I worked on the puzzle).  I did my yoga practice.

And I have discovered peace.  And the knowing.  That my worth is not based on doing.  And it’s especially not based on doing for the church.  Churches have done a masterful job of getting lots of free labor out of people to run their programs and businesses.  To do their heavy lifting and sweaty labor.

What if every church took a Sunday and told everyone to just stay home?  Take a nap.  Watch a movie.  Call a friend – or better yet, visit!  What if every church decided that sabbath was something so important that they would encourage everyone to take one so completely at least once a month that they should stay home one Sunday a month?  I wonder if people could even stop themselves for that long?

Let me put it this way: If church seems like “work” – and you didn’t have a sabbath one other day this week – maybe you should skip it.  Because sabbath isn’t supposed to be work.  It’s rest.  And peace. And recharging for the work that is coming.

While it’s probably too late today, if you are an every-Sunday-church-goer, why don’t you try, just for Lent, giving up one Sunday of accomplishing anything that remotely resembles work?  And especially, don’t go to church.  But don’t go anywhere else either – except maybe to visit someone and drink coffee and eat cake or pie or lunch.  But only if they made it yesterday.  Don’t have a sabbath at someone else’s expense.

And then on Monday, you won’t feel like you are going back to work to rest up from your weekend.  And you’ll have more peace.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s