I was raised to treat Sunday differently than other days. There was a lot of cultural and religious weight behind the encouragement, to the point of loosely formulated rules about what our little family should and shouldn’t do on “Lord’s Day.”
As a kid, I regarded these rules as annoying and restrictive. All they meant to me was that Sunday was a more boring day than other days. No going out to the mall or the movies, no rock music, no parties.
My mother wasn’t terribly strict, though, so as I got older, the rules became more and more relaxed, and by the time I marched into legal adulthood, I had mostly abandoned the formalities of setting apart Sunday as much different from any other day of the week. I kept going to church. That’s about it.
Over the years, though, I’ve learned that the deeper spiritual purpose behind the religious injunction to “keep the Sabbath Day holy” has less to do with obedience and sacrifice (both of which are exceptionally popular Biblical principles, and neither of which seemed to stick very well to my incorrigible soul), and much more to do with the training of a person toward self-kindness.
Because life is exhausting. No matter what, your life will exhaust you. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, what you do for work or play, or who you spend your time with. Whether your exhaustion follows the righteous satisfaction of honest labor or the dark listlessness of indolent hedonism. You will become very, very tired.
Sunday, then, can be a break from whatever you’re doing. For six days a week, you live a certain way and do certain things. On the seventh day, pause them all and take a breath.
Thats what it’s for. You can attach whatever other religious or philosophical significance you want to it, but whoever you are, and whatever you believe, we all need a break.