|Photograph by Arthur Rothstein: Library of Congress|
Sunday used to be family day.
In my childhood home, we would get all dressed up in our best clothes on Sunday morning. We would hear Dad singing some hymn as he went about the house, preparing for the day. He would put on his best suit and get his much loved, worn Bible. Mother would put on a special dress and her pearl necklace. She had a pretty Bible Dad had given her. I can still see her, in my memories, holding that Bible with a sweet smile on her face as we prepared to go to church.
We children loved that drive to the church, with the family all together. Dad had worked every weekday. Then on Saturday, he would work on the house and maintain the cars. He would labor in the garage and in the yard. But on Sunday, all of that work was put aside. It was a day to worship the Lord, and be with the family.
Our social life, as a family, revolved around the church. We were delighted to see everyone there each week. There were programs to get involved in and plenty of opportunity for ministry. My sister and I worked in the nursery, were involved in Sunday School, attended youth programs, were members of the choir, and part of the nursing home ministry. We loved this work because we loved the people we went to church with. Most of all, we loved doing the Lord's work.
After the morning Sunday School and Sunday service, we would go home for lunch. We always sat at the kitchen table and ate together. This was normal for all of our meals in those days. This was a big part of manners and building a bond with one another.
At this time we would rest, perhaps lay down for awhile. No one ever did chores on Sunday (other than basic meal preparation and clean - up). All of our major housework, laundry and cleaning had been done during the week, along with a big cleaning day on Saturday morning for the weekly work. Sunday was a free day of real rest and family time.
We would have a light dinner in the early evening, all together. Then we would head back to church for choir practice and the night service.
Our Sundays were full of Bible reading, prayer, Christian fellowship, rest, and precious family time. This was the common way of life for generations of Americans until recently.
These modern days, we have fallen into step with a corrupt world. Few go to church. Many have dusty Bibles from lack of use. A great many parents work 7 days a week, from home, or at their jobs. They are less available to their families, with cell phones and computers making more "work" and "productivity" a normal part of a great deal of their time. This has caused a weakening of morals; it has become a destroyer of health; it is a major contributor to the destruction of the family unit.
Yet, there is a solution. . . . We need a steady church diet . . . We need to stop working on Sunday. This is the most acceptable day of the week to take a break from the hectic pace of modern life. The churches are open. The bells ring on Sunday morning to remind us to stop what we are doing, gather up the family, and worship together.
We need to read our Bibles, pray, and be with our families without the interruption of work, chores, or worries.
A Diet is something we do for our health. Sometimes we start a diet thinking it is boring. We are often forced to begin a healthier way of eating by a physician. Once we start that diet, we begin to feel better. We establish a routine, and our health and energy improve. It is not long before that "boring food" becomes our favorite and we begin to crave it; It does amazing things for us.
There is also The Great Physician - We are being warned that our spiritual welfare is in peril. We need a healthy diet to feed our souls. That first Sunday morning of going to the church will seem boring. We will think of a great many things we'd rather do. But taking that first baby step of going to church and making it a priority in life will start to heal the soul.
We need to get back to the old paths. Our parents, our grandparents, and the generations of parents before them, knew the way of peace for the soul. They knew how to keep a family together. They knew how to nurture the love and unity each household needs. They knew that Sunday was the Christian family day and they kept faithful to that church diet. We need to be reminded of their wisdom.
Today, I am remembering the example of my parents. I am grateful for all the effort it took for them to take us to church and spend time with us all. They made our family very close by their time and attention. They taught we children to love the Lord, to love the Bible, and to love the Church. They did this by example.
From the Archives -
Encouragement - How a Godly Mother May Guide and Imperfect Family.
Lovely Days at Home - The Gentle Art of Homekeeping.
Financial Struggles - How the Old Time Mothers Survived Poverty.
Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."
An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.