Monday, July 20, 2009

Fourth Commandment Strong in Isle of Lewis

It's not often you read a news story about protesting Presbyterians, but yesterday I came across this article about a kerfuffle in the Isle of Lewis (off the British coast).

It seems that the Presbyterians (so-called in the article, but probably Church of Scotland or some related group) on the Isle who are strict in their sabbath observance are protesting the plans of the local ferry to provide service on Sundays--after the church hour.

While it may seem like a quaint and eccentric position to take today, it reminded me of the Sundays of my childhood in Texas where blue laws kept all but "essential services" closed. My dad, a pretty strict Presbyterian himself, frowned on card-playing and movie going on Sundays. Once we had television, we could watch that, but he preferred that we read or play outside. While he might not have gone as far as his fellow Presbys on the Isle of Lewis, he would have sympathized with them. The camel's nose inside the tent and all that.

When the blue laws were repealed in this state the pastor of our church urged us in his sermon to continue to avoid shopping on Sundays--he was concerned that folks who worked in retail businesses would ultimately be forced to work on Sundays and miss their opportunity to worship with their faith communities in order to suit the convenience of others. Well, he was certainly right about that.

To this day I try (not always successfully) to avoid shopping on Sundays. I find taking a sabbath from errand-running without guilt a great gift! El Jefe, famed for working 24/7, attends worship on Sunday morning and lets his clients know he is not available during that time. We didn't let our daughters participate in Sunday morning athletic events, either--though that was less of an issue when they were young than it is today. I guess that makes us seem almost as quaint and eccentric as the Isle of Lewis Presbyterians.

No comments: