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The Sundays of my childhood taught me something – how to be a child of God

Somehow I always knew that Sundays were special. From the earliest I can remember, my parents made that very clear to me and my brother, Mark. Of course, it’s a little hard to see that when, as a young person, you’re startled out of a sound sleep in order to get ready for 7 a.m. Sunday Mass. We went as a family and we always went to the first Sunday morning Mass.

The special nature of Sunday didn’t stop with Mass. Like clockwork, my grandfather’s immense Buick LeSabre would pull into my parents’ driveway at precisely 1 p.m. I always looked forward to Grandpa’s arrival because it signaled the next part of our Sunday would soon be underway. With my dad at the helm of the giant Buick, we would all venture to a nursery to pick up plants for the garden, take a trip out to an apple orchard for cider and donuts, or just drive into the country to see the sights. There was no pattern but it was completely predictable.

Dinner followed the Sunday drive. Afterwards, it was time to pack up leftovers for Grandpa so he could make his precisely scheduled departure at 4 p.m. The rest of the day was taken up with homework and neighborhood friends. That was Sunday. I think I can count on one hand the number of times it wasn’t like that until my grandfather’s death in 1995. Sunday was, and still is, reserved for God and family — not working, but accomplishing a great deal.

In a culture that seems to be ever more consumed with “what do you do?” it seems to me we could learn a lesson from Sunday and our need to balance work with healthy and relaxing leisure. I think the lesson that Sunday teaches is this: we are not what we do. Instead, our value is measured more by how we are in the world. The Sundays of my childhood taught me what it means to be a child of God in all its richness. We offer worship to God because that’s what we need to do as part of our very being. Sunday is about being in God’s presence in church and about taking time to rest in that. Our leisure can open us to the divine if we allow it to do so.

This issue of FAITH Magazine focuses on the interplay between work and leisure. Jonathan Bower, his parents, and the Giving Tree Farm show that our true worth is not so much measured by what we’re able to produce, as by how we love and how we reflect God’s love to one another. This issue also features the oldest employee of the diocese. What keeps this 93-year-old going? And, our columnists talk about how our work can offer us a tremendous sense of accomplishment and a means of putting to use the gifts and skills that God has so richly bestowed upon each of us. All this and more awaits you on another journey in FAITH.