“Monday now the weekend” is the headline in The West Online today. The advent of Sunday trading in Western Australia and the possible extension of Sunday trading hours in the not-too-distant future means that for many Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days of the weekend and the relaxation time is Monday and Tuesday.
The article says: “Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that the number of Australians working on weekends has been on the rise, with almost one-third of working people doing some form of weekend work.
Of course, this is not really a new situation. In my research into early Baptists in Western Australia I recall the efforts of great Baptist preachers like William Kennedy and FJ Miles in the Goldfields over a hundred years ago carrying out a very public campaign against Sunday sport.
The Biblical commandment to remember the Sabbath Day has a very practical basis. I have no doubt that many of the health problems, and particularly mental health problems, that we experience today are compounded because we have not been taking the time that we need to rest, and in that time of rest, to reflect on our Creator and his goodness.
But let’s put that to one side for a moment, and consider how the church, which traditionally carries out the majority of its public activities on a weekend, should think about the changes that are occurring in our society. How do we address the issues of corporate worship in a society where traditional time patterns are now impacted by a fly-in fly-out lifestyle?
I don’t think those societal changes necessarily require us to stop meeting on Sunday and instead to call the faithful to worship on Monday, but perhaps there is a time and a place for considering some alternative and additional opportunities for people to seek solace from the rush and bustle of life in order to meditate on their Creator.
We’ve been studying Hebrews on Sunday morning and next week we are coming to a verse that says: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”
If the world in which we lives makes the meeting together of Jesus’ followers too hard, perhaps we need to think of ways that we can make it possible. Any ideas of how we can encourage each other in this?