Observations on Sunday

Charles C. Pugh III
May 19, 2013

How important is Sunday (the first day of the week)? One source affirmed, "The Lord's Day is a firm foundation on which to build a six-story week" (qtd. in Mead 387). Joseph Addison said, "Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week" (The Spectator No. 112). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow declared, "Sunday is like a stile between the fields of toil, where we can kneel and pray, sit and meditate. . . . [T]he golden clasp that binds together the volume of the weeks" (qtd. in Mead 388-89). John Newton, who composed the words to the song, "Amazing Grace," said that Sunday is "Day of all the week the best. . ." (Dictionary of Quotations 669). And the great American statesman, Daniel Webster, argued, "Sunday is nature's law as well as God’s. No individual or nation habitually disregarding it has failed to fall upon disaster and gnef (qtd. in Mead 390).

The 19th-century French political scientist and sociologist. Alexis de Tocqueville, came to the United States in 1831. Fascinated by what he saw, he recorded his findings in an 800 page work, Democracy in America. The deep religious devotion he observed greatly impressed him. In one place he elaborated:

in the United States, when the seventh day comes, trade and industry seem suspended throughout the nation. All noise stops. A deep repose, or rather solemn contemplation takes its place. At last the soul comes into its ov/n and mediates upon itself....

Thus it is that the American in some degree from time to time escapes from himself, and for a moment free from the petty passions that trouble his life and the passing interests that fill it, he I suddenly breaks into an ideal world where all is great, pure, and eternal, (qtd, in One Nation' Under God 106).

I wonder how he would describe the prevailing view of Sunday (the Lord’s Day) in America today? For many, it is just another day-a day of.more concern for a hole-in-one rather than the Holy One; a day of more concern to be on the water than the day to remember the One who walked on the water; a day spent primarily for physical pleasure rather than a day of spiritual praise. The apostle John wrote that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10). Where are we, and what is our focus? In his 1891 devotional book, Alone with God, J. H. Garrison prayed, "O You, by whose mercy we have all been spared, through the week that is past, your children draw nigh to worship you with gladness on the morning of our Savior's resurrection. It is the day you have made; assist us to rejoice in it and be glad" (156).