Sundays: To Nap or Catch Up?
April 1, 2011Newsletter #21
As a six-year-old, I once woke up with a brilliant idea. I would clean my dresser before anyone else was up. I crawled across my sleeping sister to slip from our double bed and get to work.
My dresser, a small old-fashioned washstand, held the usual clothing plus special treasures such as lace-trimmed hankies and a small porcelain lady figurine. I emptied the drawers, straightening, rearranging. Suddenly the door to our bedroom swung open. Much to my chagrin, my mother informed me it was Easter morning. Easter morning! A Sunday morning! And I was cleaning! What must God think!
You see, when I was young, Sunday was a special day. I wore "Sunday dresses," soft rayons trimmed in lace or starched cotton prints. I wore "Sunday shoes," patent leather Mary Janes or freshly polished saddle shoes. And often a "Sunday hat," too. We went to church and "Sunday school," where I received a Bible picture card.
After church we went home for "Sunday dinner." Early each Sunday morning my mother peeled potatoes and put a stuffed chicken or a beef roast in the oven. When we returned from church, she boiled potatoes. Within an hour we'd be enjoying the roast-of-the-day along with mashed potatoes, home-shelled peas, and chocolate cake. Sometimes the pastor and his wife joined us.
Were the good old days better? I don't know. Did dressing up in Sunday clothes instead of wearing shorts and tank tops to church mean we got more out of worship? I doubt it. But I do know that in spite of my giggles and wiggles, I learned a few things while sitting with older cousins on the back pew of a little country church.
I learned that God’s House is a Sacred Place that required preparation to enter. Watching the hardworking farm folk of my neighborhood primp and dress up to worship and to celebrate the seasons of life left a mark on my soul. Men, who all week wore overalls, put on suits and ties. Women, who were rarely seen without aprons, washed and set their hair in pin curls on a Saturday night and topped their curls with hats. My mother even wore a fur-collared coat to church.
I also learned that we have a holy, loving Heavenly Father, and He has suggested—no, commanded—that I remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. In God's wisdom He did not spell out how to do that, but He knows my body cannot function 24/7, as we now say. On Sundays we tended the livestock and visited relatives, but we never used the day to catch up on the week’s cleaning or washing or shopping. State “blue laws” kept stores closed. Since God rested on Sundays, I sometimes napped with Him.
And finally, I learned that I can pray and God hears me. Although the preacher’s prayers were long and he sometimes used words I didn’t understand, I knew he was talking to God and I should, too. And by praying, I learned to create short “Sunday” moments in time, moments when I enjoy a brief rest from whatever I’m doing—any day of the week.
My childhood Sundays may now seem a bit old-fashioned. You might argue our faith should be more a matter of the heart than of the hemline. I only know those "Sunday dresses," "Sunday shoes," and "Sunday dinners" instilled in me a perspective of Who God is and who I am. And the two of us have grown very close.
Events for April and May:
April 2, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. - Friends of the Heart - Women's Retreat at Faithlift, Pittsfield, MA, "If Our Closets Could Talk."
April 12, 11:30 a.m. – Shirley - at Lower Bucks Christian Women’s Club, “Trusting the Hand in the Glove of Life.”
April 13, 9:30 a.m. – Shirley at Eastern Montgomery County Christian Women’s Club; Noon, Pottstown Christian Women’s Club; 6:15 p.m., Chester County After 5, “Trusting the Hand in the Glove of Life.”
April 16 - Shirley – Two workshops at Write It Right Conference, Black Diamonds Writers Network, Hazelton, PA.
May 3, 6 p.m. - Friends of the Heart - Mother/Daughter Banquet, Trinity Lutheran Church, Pottsville: "That Face in the Mirror: Who Do You See?”
May 6, 6 p.m. - Friends of the Heart, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Tower City, Mother Daughter Banquet: "Tea With Dora the Explorer, Wonder Woman and Hyacinth Bucket,"
May 7, 6 p.m. - Friends of the Heart - United Lutheran Church, Sunbury, Mother's Day Banquet, "That Face in the Mirror: Who Do You See?"
May 11, 12 Noon – Shirley at Hanover Christian Women's Club Luncheon, New Oxford, "Trusting the Hand in the Glove."
May 12, 9:30 a.m. – Shirley at Hanover Christian Women's Club Brunch, New Oxford, "Trusting the Hand in the Glove."
May 17, 6 p.m. – Friends of the Heart – St. Peter’s UCC, Orwin, Mother’s Day Tea. “That Face in the Mirror: Who Do You See?”
May 21 - Friends of the Heart - Moulton Memorial Baptist Church, Newburgh, New York, "At Any Age, At Any Stage: Celebrating the Christian Life."
We’d love to have you join us for any of these events. Check www.shirleybrosius.com or www.friendsoftheheart.us for more information or just e-mail me for reservations. If you’re looking for suggested reading, visit my website blog page for books I’ve read.