From the beginning of time, God rested on the seventh day and ordained a day of rest for us too. In Bible times, and even today, Jews and 7th day Adventists , observe the day of rest beginning at sundown on Friday evening.
After the resurrection, Christians began to observe Sunday as a day of rest and worship too. It appears that the early church may have observed both Saturday and Sunday for a time. They did not want to offend their fellow Jews by disregarding Saturday. But they also met to worship, bring offerings and observe communion together on Sunday.
We are somewhat familiar with the transition from Saturday to Sunday observance of a day of rest. But when did the change come that we practise a day of rest from midnight to midnight- 24 hours of Sunday?
We have been challenged by friends recently to return to the sundown to sundown observance of the day of rest the way God designed it. Why not? Too often I have worked late Saturday night to accomplish unfinished goals of the week. Then I reap the consequences with weariness on Sunday morning!
Like my mother before me, I wash the "Sunday clothes" on Monday and begin to prepare for the next Sunday. By the end of the week some special dishes are prepared to make cooking easier on Sunday. Once I read of the woman who did something every day of the week to prepare herself and her family for the "day of rest". Shoes can be polished and the house cleaned to prepare for the Lord's Day. But is my Lord honored when I stay up late pushing myself to meet other goals of the week?
I have often appreciated the freedom to relax on Sunday and not feel guilty for taking a mid-afternoon nap. Sunday is my favorite day of the week! The past two weeks I have been able to let myself relax on Saturday evening. I can read a book, study my Sunday school lesson and simply relax. How much more my brain is refreshed for the Sunday morning service! It has not been "another rule" for myself- but a freedom to let unfinished tasks remain unfinished. I can relax and not feel irresponsible. I've heard if you do something for 3 weeks, it will be a habit. Feels like a good habit to develop at this point. Why didn't I do it years ago?
In case you wonder- I do not plan to begin my laundry at sundown on Sunday evening. If the early church could observe two whole days to avoid offense, surely I do not need to be stroking the legal aspects of a 24 hour observance from sundown to sundown...but extend it into a few more hours. The list of to-do's will be there on Monday morning too.