I technically knew that Sundays were break from Lent, but I also know that one of upcoming Sundays is a special occasion – so I thought if one Sunday in Lent must be special, then all of them must represent something special.
That’s just how it works in pretty much every church I’d ever attended. Revival Week, for example, meant that there was a meeting at church every evening to try to spark the spirit of revival, but it was the last Sunday that was viewed as the culmination of the revival. Someone would likely speak about what happened in the meetings and tell us how many people decided to rededicate their lives or accept the Son into their lives and ask to be baptized.
Same goes for Vacation Bible School week – Sunday’s culmination of that would be a time when children could show us what they learned, the motions to the songs, talk about their favorite games, or a teaching that they felt was important.
So I expected the First Sunday of Lent to be culmination of the first week of Lent. Technically it’s only been a few days, but it seems that this Sunday is like any other Sunday. This is what I have learned:
Some will say “I don’t cheat on Sundays” and fast continue to fast much as the would any other Day of Lent. Others point out “Sundays don’t count” and break the fast. By the end of Lent, both groups will have fasted forty days – only the former group fasts six more days. Not counting Sunday isn’t cheating. When the calendar was created the church ministers recognized that the Lord’s Day was so sacred that it superseded Lenten traditions.
I expected Lenten Sundays to be special in the way that Holy Week/Easter or Christmas Sundays are special. Marked in some way, set aside somehow. Then I think back to the Sundays I read about in Little House in the Prairie – how Saturdays would be spent with double the work-load preparing for Sunday so that there would be nothing left to do. I think back to the Sundays I read about when blue laws closed down every store and business so that everyone could go to church. I wouldn’t want that. It’s unfair for those whose religious holidays don’t fall on the same day of the week.
So I struggle with the holiness of Sundays, they’re much the same as any other Sunday, a time when I have more time – but am not sure what to do with it. Perhaps Lent’s Sundays are special in their own little way – just special in a different way than Lent is special.