30 June 2006

"Remember Thou The Sabbath Day."

From the latest Crisis.

"Growing up on a tobacco farm in Marion, South Carolina, during the 1960s, one abiding memory I have is of attending my father’s African Methodist Episcopalian Church on the first and third Sunday of every month, while attending my mother’s Pentecostal Church of worship on the second and fourth Sundays. My seven brothers, two sisters, and I worked so hard on our parents’ 200-acre estate from sunup to sundown that we were always weary from theendless chores of farm life. We awoke every day by 5 a.m. to gather for morning prayer as a family. Then the work of the day was set before us. My father believed that physical labor was good for the spirit; so whether it was slopping hogs, tending cattle, cropping tobacco, harvesting fruits and vegetables, or just picking cotton, we worked in every season. On school days we would have tended chickens, milked the cow, or done any number of other chores before we ever saw the school bus. When we came home, there was yet more work, which would often last until 8 p.m. This was a constant, Monday through Saturday.

But on Sunday, everything stopped. Sundays were days for physical, spiritual, and emotional renewal. Growing up, the only thing required of us as a family on the Sabbath was that we attend church together for a few hours and have a family dinner—that was its beauty. My father would leave us alone the rest of the day to play, have fun, and do the things that we wanted to do. Other children, I remember, would spend most of Sunday in church. My father felt that church was important, but so was play. We never had to do any chores on Sunday...

Here's the whole thing.


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