Sunday, 25 November 2018

I Appreciate the Sabbath

The fourth commandment in the Judaeo-Christian tradition is to Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. The story went that God, after six days of creative activity, needed a rest. This rest day, within my culture, is taken to be Sunday, and this is still reflected in the UK in restricted shop opening times and quieter roads.

The Sundays of my early adulthood largely followed the patterns of my childhood, and were filled with going to church, helping out with Sunday School, and cooking roast lunches. These things tended to make me tired, but if  I didn't do them, the guilt I felt after wrestling with myself was just as exhausting. 

Within these Sabbath days, there were some lovely moments, such as crispy roast potatoes, singing Bruckner's Locus Iste, and going for late afternoon strolls in Attingham Park.

It took a while to de-programme myself from the expectation that waking up on a Sunday meant it was time to get spruced up for church / heat up the oven for a chicken / prepare (last minute) for whichever activity I'd volunteered to run.

Since I have stopped going to church, Sundays have come into my week like new gifts. At first, a novice at this new-found freedom, I treated them a bit like Saturdays: days to catch up on work and chores or to rush around seeing friends. These days, I've put myself under a new commandment - that is, to Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it wholly devoted to bike rides, walks, writing poetry, eating simply cooked food and lounging around watching films. I find this to be an entirely satisfactory means of recreation.


  1. Technically, of course, the Sabbath is Saturday, the seventh and last day of the week. Sunday is the first day, the day of the sun, the day of creation.

  2. I'm Jewish by descent, so maybe I should just rest up all weekend? :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. your 'lounging around watching films' comment prompted me to reflect on indulging in a guilty secret, something that is what appears now like a sin I committed on the Sunday before Christmas Eve, albeit a hugely enjoyable one which had no repercussions for anyone but me. Watching what I had presumed to be a single episode of 'Woman of Substance' I was taken by surprise when it turned out to be a 7 hour saga, all episodes running on together. As it was compelling watching, I hardly moved ! it was excellent.
    Having no pause, nor record facility on my tv, it was a case of speedy dashes to the bathroom, and grabbing bags of crisps - Rarely do I watch films, it was a weird feeling, having left myself, my preoccupations, continuously and completely for all those hours.