A Month of Sundays
The phrase “a month of Sundays” is rooted in a small handful of interpretations: as a metaphor for a very longstretch of time, “I haven’t seen her in a month of Sundays” (as in 30 or 31 weeks); or, as a description of perseverance, “I’ve been waiting a month of Sundays for this to occur, and I’m glad it finally did;” and, it’s used critically for those who are skeptical that “it will never work – not in a month of Sundays” as a seemingly endless or prolonged period of time, feeling it’s ‘never or unlikely’ to occur.
The use of Sunday in this phrase (as opposed to any other day of the week) is rooted in the Sabbath as the marker for a week’s time. The Christian’s holy day of Sunday, the Sabbath, is to be a day of rest, a long, solemn day devoted to restful practices.
In many ways, the COVID-19 season has already felt like “a month of Sundays” – as in a very long and prolonged time to persevere. But, what if we looked at the pandemic through the lens of Sabbath rest and tried to instill Sabbath-like priorities into these elongated days when we’re safe at home, even if we’re still working and busy with life’s obligations?
As you look back over the past 5-6 weeks, how much of that time has felt restful? For many of us, it’s actually been the opposite…restless, anxious, fearful, and impatient might be your descriptive words. The challenges have increased; the worry has multiplied; and the demands have heightened. To consider infusing Sabbath rest into these fretful days might feel a bit overwhelming.
But, perhaps Sabbath rest might actually be the turnkey to enduring the pandemic and coming out the other side with some sense of heart and body health, as well as soul vitality. Is it time to turn some of those weighty days of unrest upside down and choose to invite Sabbath rest to help define our days and this unprecedented season instead?
Here are a few words and ideas to ponder if “a month of Sabbaths” is to be considered…
- Rest – the purpose of Sabbath is to cease our work and enter into rest, putting our trust and hope in God’s hands. At the time of creation, God chose rest in order to admire the work of his hands in the days prior. We learn to focus on God instead of self in times of rest, knowing there is only one God, and it’s not me!
- Reflection – setting apart time to recall the gifts of the day (or season) is the primary purpose of any reflective discipline, like journaling, examen, and attentiveness. If we don’t take time to notice, much of our day’s experiences are washed away as a distant memory.
- Rejoice – giving thanks for the blessings of this life puts our hearts and minds in good space, rather than in the fretful or worried geography of the soul. Gratitude is healing, strengthening, empowering, and forgiving. Try expressing it to God and others and watch how different your day unfolds.
- Recreation – in Sabbath we re-create back into the fullness of the abundant life. This may include recreational activities like strolling, napping, playing, savoring a meal, noticing creation, or even creating something colorful, delicious, or beautiful.
- Recalibration – when we finally cease our unrelenting busyness and enjoy restfulness instead, our minds clear up and we begin to think more succinctly. The fog of our overly full lives is lifted when we are enjoying Sabbath rest and our disjointed priorities are realigned more appropriately.
- Renewal – by far the greatest tangible gift of Sabbath rest is the renewal that emerges as a result of resting, trusting, giving thanks, noticing, and enjoying life in all its delightful dimensions. As we release our burdens and concerns and place them in God’s hands we are renewed with hope.
May this “month of Sundays” shift from an endless feeling of sameness and be transformed into a gift from God for the people of God, based in Sabbath-like principles and priorities. Let me know how it goes!