Yesterday, North Dakota joined the rest of the country in allowing retail businesses to open Sunday morning.
Until Aug. 1, our state was the only hold-out trying to “keep holy the Sabbath,” with limited shopping on what the majority of Christians consider the Lord’s Day: “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation,” Genesis 2:3 reminds.
Some disagree with the change. On Facebook, one argued that Sunday used to be a day when most labor stopped, allowing families time together. “This is another way of keeping us busy, busy, busy,” she said. “We are losing family time. But I am in the minority, so carry on, shoppers.”
“I have an idea,” another quipped. “How about people who don’t want to shop before noon stay home, and, um, those who want to get their errands done before noon on a Sunday just do that. Everyone wins!”
“Hey, hey, now,” another chirped, “let’s don’t go overboard by suggesting people use logic!”
Maybe it’s not that opposers want to return to the Dark Ages, but simply sense the sacred slipping away in a culture preferring all-week sidewalk sales over family time.
Certainly, we’re witnessing once again the divide between those trying to live a life set apart from the world while still being in it and those who’ve fully embraced the culture.
Though I align with the former, I refuse to fall into despair, and urge fellow believers to join me in hope. First, we need to face the fact that we are now living in a post-Christian culture. As in the first centuries of Christianity, our world is largely pagan.
Which means, more than ever, as salt of the earth, the remnant, and light-bearers, we remaining faithful need to live on bended knee as never before. The sooner we accept reality, the sooner we’ll see what seems like defeat as one step closer to ultimate victory.
I’m not saying it’ll be easy, or that we shouldn’t do all we can to fully live our lives in the freedom of our faith. But God never promised ease, nor that the world would accept us or our ways. He said the opposite, as in John 17:14: “I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.”
God also promised not to abandon us, and that through perseverance, our tears would someday be turned into dancing.
Our affliction is temporary, so rather than be discouraged, let’s encourage one another and stay strong in the Lord. Civil laws may change to accommodate the worldly, but we still have a choice to live rightly, so that when the world sees us, it will see the Lord, and someday, recognizing him, declare, “My Lord and my God!”
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on Aug. 4, 2019.]