Okay, let’s sing it together: ” Saturday…in the park…I think it was the Fourth of July…”
Don’t you just love that old Chicago song? When I hear it, I envision a warm, sunny day, picnic blankets spread out on a wide green lawn, kids running and screaming in joy, teenage boys, bare-breasted, throwing a football back and forth, the smell of the Colonel’s secret recipe blending with the odor of sunscreen. If you’ve ever arrived early for the laser show at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, you know exactly what I am speaking about.
We all love Saturdays in the park. We all need the rest. In fact, God told us to rest. He “rested” on the seventh day and instructed His people to follow Him. (Isn’t that all He’s ever asked of us?) . Take a Sabbath day. Rest. Catch your breath. Relax!!! Whether you do it on a “Saturday” or a “Sunday” or whenever, God has designed our bodies to, and decreed by His Word that we take a day off.
Why don’t we?
Does this sound familiar? Monday morning, you fumble to the bathroom, then to the coffee pot, jump in the shower, make yourself presentable to the outside world, and rush out the door to get going to your work. You fight traffic with others (who are just as irritated as you are, if not more so), get to your job, put on the fake smiles, keep the boss and clients/customers happy. Make your cruddy little wage, drive back home, scrounge up some dinner, hustle your dependents back and forth to baseball/gymnastics/soccer/dance/tiddlywinks and basket-weaving , come home and put them young un’s to bed (after homework, baths and glasses of water, of course). If the mood is right, and Jupiter and Mars are lined up in just the correct manner, you might have some “quality time” with the spouse, text your peeps, troll Facebook , eliminate the red dots from your tablet and eventually fall asleep, with the audio of Forensic Files serenading you in the dark.
Tuesday, repeat the process.
Wednesday , repeat the process. Except if you’re a Baptist. Then, if you’re really committed ,or are feeling guilty because the preacher has been complaining about attendance, you grab some Mickey D’s and go to church. To get “re-fueled” of course. While your kids are being discipled and enertained, you receive the minister’s “teaching” (minus the screaming and pulpit-pounding, which is only appropriate for Sunday when lost people need Jesus), and, if you are truly insane ( or love to make a “joyful noise”), you stay for music rehearsal. Then you get home at an ungodly hour (for kids who must go to school in the morning) and you collapse. Oh, by the way, it’s Hump Day!!!
Thursday. See Monday and Tuesday.
Friday, TGIF!!! Payday!!! From the time your money hits, you are in a mad rush to chill out and party before the automatic bill payments start to decimate your checking account. Maybe get a pizza! Perhaps a show or a ballgame! For the non-Baptists, it’s prime time to knock back a few cold ones, especially since you can sleep in tomorrow morning.
Saturday!!! I can sleep! Wrong. Stupid dogs wake you up barking. The kids are up begging for food. What about a day in the park? Why not pack up th cooler and lawn chairs?
Too bad. It’s raining. Laundry is piled up to the ceiling. The family is bored out of their minds. Something is growing in the toilet and must be destroyed. You haven’t called your mother all week. The cat threw up what looks like a cross between a dead bird and a tamale. Grass needs mowing. Oh crap, I forgot to pick up the prescriptions from the pharmacy! The shrubbery is taking over the exterior of the house. Your friends are begging for you to come over for dinner, because they have this “wonderful business opportunity” they want to “share ” with you . (“We want you to get in on the ground floor”, “The potential is unlimited”, “You can do this in your SPARE TIME.”)
Saturday in the park? Ha. You must be joking. It will end up being a Sunday in the park
Oh, but wait a minute! Sunday is the Sabbath. As a follower of Jesus, I have to go to church. I must show God how much I love Him.
Sunday mornings are the worst if you are saved. Mysterious, universal forces disrupt normal preparation time. After a monumental war is waged to enter the church doors, you enter the Holy Matrix.
Sunday school, worship service, tithe ( Am I really going to make it to my next paycheck?), praise songs offending the old folks who wonder what happened to the hymnals and piano, preacher begging the heathen to repent and avoid hell, altar time, announcements for those who can’t read the church bulletin, lunch at the Mexican joint, afternoon nap and/or football game, discipleship training, Sunday evening worship, after church fellowship. Was God happy with me today?
The most depressing time in America: Sunday night. The weekend is over. Back to work in the morning. Where did my time go? What happened to the happy, smiling faces Chicago was singing about?
The answer to the questions is that we disobeyed God. He gave us a commandment and we broke it. According to the Bible, if we break one of God’s commandments we are guilty of breaking them all. If I refuse to take a day of rest I have rebelled against my Creator. How can I expect Him to give me rest if I refuse to take what He gives me?
The apostle Paul instructed believers to “redeem” the time because the days we live in are evil. Today is Saturday. My house looks like a band of gypsies live here. Do I clean it ?
Heck no. It is beautiful outside. I’m headed to the park.
See you all in church tomorrow.