Why We Are Hard-Wired for Sundays

And There Is Absolutely Nothing You Can Do About It

Sundays take up their own time and space in a way that a Tuesday never will. Stored inside sepia toned images, they conjure pancakes and syrup, a long leisurely read of the Times or the Post, the smell of coffee and bacon. The face of my grandmother and of my mother when she was young. I enter into a hypnotic stage of yearning possibilities, daydreams, even illusions of grandeur.

Sundays are also democratic. They affect everyone, regardless of whether you believe in God or not. Whether you are spending your Sunday morning sleeping in, preparing for Church, or getting ready for an afternoon of football, you can’t escape the mystical pull of a Sunday, beckoning you to leave the busyness, to engage in introspection, reflect, dream of new beginnings.

Regardless of what day you observe the Sabbath or even whether you believe in God, it is a holy day made for man to rest and to observe and to meditate on how temporal all of this is and to draw our minds and hearts back to something greater than ourselves. Moreover, these mystical Sunday qualities can’t be contrived by our own machinations or even bidden to leave. They are hard-wired in our spirit, in our soul. They seem to have a wholly self-imposed quality that is not controllable by mind, matter or man.

So what, exactly, is this Sabbath rest with its mysterious, supernatural qualities? Why is it that you can hear the tick of a clock in a quiet house or outside, feel the wind ruffling your hair. A bird soars overhead in the distance and somewhere far away, you hear a dog bark. You notice. The landscape is quiet. The mind is busy, but not stressed.

The Christian world is divided on what day to keep the Christian Sabbath, and it’s not an argument I find worthwhile to perpetuate. In my view, Jesus laid the argument to rest when he said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) Jesus also foreknew the Sabbath would be divisive: “Therefore let no one judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a festival, a New Moon, or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body that casts it belongs to Christ.” (Col. 2:17)

And despite that in our modern, secular age most commerce and trade continues unabated on Sundays, people can’t shake off that Sunday feeling. Those that attend church, will often go enjoy a meal with family and friends after a service and then—nothing. The world goes quiet. A psychological phenomena that pecks at our minds like a chicken in the dirt descends on us. It’s the Sabbath.

Near the end of each Sunday, the supernatural veil begins to lift and a blueness sets in around the edges of our soul. It’s even been dubbed the Sunday night blues by psychologists. You begin to feel uptight thinking of the work week ahead. The drudgery of life and long commutes nibbles away at your inner peace. Some become so distraught they experience panic attacks. For others, sleep alludes them and they toss and turn their way into the wee hours of a Monday morning.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, “The phenomenon is a real one—78% of respondents in a recent international Monster.com poll reported experiencing the so-called ‘Sunday Night Blues.’ And a whopping 47% said they get it, ‘really bad.’ In the U.S., that number jumps to 59%.”

The world may call it having the blues, but Sundays are necessary for our survival. As humans, we crave meaning and connection in our everyday race for survival. Introspection is necessary for us to thrive. God’s Sabbath is hallowed, blessed, and sanctified, or set apart. There is nothing man can do or any amount of busyness that will change what God ordained: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11)

The Sabbath is mystical because it is connected to eternal life—a shadow of what is to come and it is a precious gift to man. “Now if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.…” (Heb. 4:9)

Life is a great mystery to humankind and it is our nature to try to solve the puzzle. God planted eternity in the hearts of man in order that we might seek Him. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecc. 3:11)

It is on God’s Sabbath that our hearts reflect on eternity, the meaning of our lives, God, and all of creation. Sunday is a gift from a God who desires that we enter into His rest, both here on earth and in eternity. So roll in the sheets a little longer and linger over the visages of your pets, your mate, your children, or the coffee swirling in your cup, and dream a little dream. Some things, you just can’t change. Reign well.

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