Romans 14:5-6 (NRSV)If we’re judging days, today was pretty darn good. It started with me being able to get all three boys out the door on time for church. Jack opted for the chapel service, which happened to feature a fantastic sermon about the fifth commandment (honoring one’s parents) with the added benefit of me being able to tell Jack was actually listening and processing the major points.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
Afterward Jack went home with my parents while I drove through Dunkin’ Donuts for the younger boys. After a bit of down time at home, Mac, Charlie and I did a bit of a grocery run (to get peaches for mom, as Charlie pointed out) and when that was over it was time to head down to Pops & K’s for an afternoon and evening of family time with Uncle Matt and Aunt Kim, including a brief celebration of our upcoming birthdays and lots and lots of good food. Even when Charlie was napping on me on the couch and all I was really doing was reading the Sunday paper, I could not have been more content.
I realize these verses are more so about the days of the week and how certain traditions place more emphasis on the Sabbath or various religious holidays — the translation I typically use incorporates the word sacred as opposed to better. But just like all people are God’s creation, whether or not they drive me absolutely batty, so is every day a gift from God, even the ones that aren’t nearly as positive as today’s profusion of family and faith.
Every day is a day the Lord has made and therefore an occasion to rejoice and be glad. Sure, that delight can be much easier to come by when everything’s coming up roses. Days like last Tuesday, when I got to leave work in the middle of the day and choose between taking one child for his allergy shots or the other for a strep test, are a little more difficult to see as a blessing. But hopefully that’s true for most everyone — the bad helps us appreciate the good, and the good serve as a reminder the bad won’t linger forever. Making the best of the in-betweens seems to be as important as anything.
And then there is the other truth herein: don’t get hung up on the human differences. Focus on the commonality in God. If you refuse to mow your lawn on Sunday because it’s the Sabbath, who am I to tell you you’re silly? Just so long as you don’t berate me for a bit of yard work because you know I’ve thanked the Lord for giving me a chance to be outdoors enjoying creation.
That’s purely hypothetical, of course. Sure, my lawn does need to be trimmed. But the sense of accomplishment that might have provided would pale in comparison to the simple pleasure of being awash in the love of my family — the blood relatives and the faith family, both of which sustain me and deepen my appreciation for the joy of being alive.
A prayer for August 4:
Lord, thank you for a blessed, special Sunday. Please help me hold the memories of the day’s simple pleasures in a corner of my mind where they can be retrieved if needed to restore joy in my heart. I hope the worship I offered was pleasing to you, and that the lessons imparted will last in my approach to life long after the words rang in my ears. And help me to remember every new day is a gift from you, a chance to sow seeds of love in the world and to praise the one who makes all things possible. To you alone be the glory. Amen.