File this under “pointless gripe number 7263”
I often hear clergy and others doing their “Day of rest! Ha!” thing about Sunday.
There has been a long history of the idea of Sunday being kept as the Sabbath. It was often in post Reformation Protestant countries the only day that people had off.
Interestingly, in “The Stripping of the Altars” Duffy suggests that pre-Reformation, there were over seventy feast days (ie days off) for the peasants in the fields, that the Reformation represented a huge diminution in their rest days. But that’s by the by.
And so, particularly in Free church areas (famously, Island of Harris) the Sabbath was so closely kept that the swings in the play park were chained up, the shops were shut, and no work was done. A friend of mine recalled moving to Harris, and having a delegation from the Free Church politely requesting that his wife “remove her clothing” – from the washing line, it transpired. Which was a relief.
But the message of Easter is that Easter day is not a day of rest. Christ died on the Friday, and was placed in the tomb on the Sabbath, the day of rest, and rose form the dead on the new day – the Day of Resurrection is regarded historically by the church as the eighth day of creation, the new day which completes the work of creation, which is why a font has eight sides – we are baptised into the completed creation, as new people of flesh and spirit.
This is why traditionally there were indeed two days off – Saturday, or the Sabbath, and Sunday, which is always, (even in Lent) a day of celebration.
So, including the forty days of unremitting joy after Christmas, and the fifty days after Easter (until Pentecost), and the 52 Sundays of feasting, and Ascension Day, and Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, and various saints of our calendar, it means that we officially in our church have about 140 days of feasting per year.
Welcome to the church of the morbidly obese.