If you refrain from trampling the Sabbath…I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. - Isaiah 58:13-14
I can remember a day when most things were closed on Sundays. Can you? I never questioned it, since it was how things had always been in my memory. What I do remember was when it started to change. One of the things I remember feeling was that it was wrong, and we were breaking a rule.
God’s rules as they are given are a challenging thing for us, in no small measure because some of those rules in our sacred texts can be used for exclusion, prejudice, and hatred. Others of a lesser nature we are bound to break in our modern-day (like wearing mixed fabrics, for instance). I knew a couple once a number of years ago that tried to “live Biblically.” It didn’t last long.
Thankfully, Jesus comes along and breaks it down for us as simply as he can: love God, love your neighbor as yourself. Full stop. With a loving heart and a thinking brain, most of the rules in the Bible that matter, as regards how we are to treat one another, don’t even need to be spelled out for us if we simply do those two things in earnest.
Rules...sometimes we see them as a real pain, sometimes we really appreciate them, and sometimes it’s both at once. Yet God’s rules are there in order that we might make this creation what it was intended to be for all of us, and Jesus shows us how to live them.
And yes, part of me still wishes things were closed on Sundays.
Magnificent God, grant us the wisdom to know that your sacred rules are not meant to constrain us, but to set us free, and then give us the strength to live as such.