We interrupt Election Day — and all the stress from the divisiveness of the 2016 presidential race — with a picture of a pretty kitty.
I'd like to dedicate this post to my friend Summer Heil, a cat lover and regular GetReligion reader.
While we give politics a rest — just for a brief moment — it seems like an appropriate time to highlight a recent feature by Boston Globe religion writer Lisa Wangsness.
And on the seventh day, many don’t rest at all
Now, there's a bit of confusion here because the seventh day is Saturday, while the story's opening focuses on how Sunday, the first day of week, used to be a time of rest. However, most readers will understand the headline's reference to the Jewish Sabbath, which is the seventh day of the week.
The lede sets the scene:
People over age 40 can remember a time when, because of blue laws — the Colonial-era prohibitions against commercial activities on Sundays — most stores were closed and very little aside from praying, newspaper-reading, and loafing around happened on Sunday mornings.
That changed as blue laws were repealed or went unenforced in the late 20th century and as many denominations relaxed their rules.
But now, some people are looking longingly at the religious structures that once forced even the nonreligious to take time to relax and enjoy life, and experimenting with ways to embrace something like the Sabbath to help authorize a day away from workaday concerns.
As the psychotherapist and minister Wayne Muller has written, in the Hebrew tradition, the Sabbath is not an option or a lifestyle suggestion, but “a commandment, right next to ‘Do not kill’ and ‘Do not steal’ and ‘Do not lie.’ ”
In case you're unfamiliar with the term, "blue laws" were called that because they were written on blue paper, as I noted in a 2003 Associated Press story. Why were they written on blue paper? That, I couldn't tell you ...
In a GetReligion post last year, I complained that a Fort Worth Star-Telegram story on blue laws was haunted by holy ghosts:
There are no such ghosts this time.
Wangsness quotes a diverse group of religious sources and explains — in ways that will resonate with most readers — why rest has become so elusive for most people in this age of 24/7 electronic gadgets.
This section is typical in delving into the spiritual as well as the physical:
The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos, or measurable, sequential time, and kairos, a more abstract period of time in which something significant happens.
“Over the last few decades, we have slowly and steadily lost our concept of sacred time,” the Rev. Demetrios Tonias, dean of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England. “The temporal creeps in and cuts us off from the eternal.”
Tonias, who has four children, is all too familiar with how difficult it can be to move a modern family from chronos to kairos on Sunday mornings, with school and sports activities competing for attention. Sometimes, his wife stays in the suburbs with the kids and attends a local church so she can shuttle a child to an activity. Altar boys sometimes rush in from early morning football practice, shedding shoulder pads and wiping off eye black before pulling on their robes.
“God bless them,” he said with a rueful chuckle. “That’s dedication.”
By all means, read it all.
Then you have my permission to take a nap. After the fatigue of this election, is there any doubt that we all need one?