“Sundays are hard for babies,” a church member said sympathetically as she handed back my crying daughter. It’s a truth universally acknowledged. On Sundays, the carefully orchestrated nap schedule of the other six days bends and then snaps under the constraints of morning and evening worship. On Sundays, the quiet interactions of family life fade below the noise of an entire congregation. On Sundays, handfuls of Cheerios bridge the gap between one delayed meal and another. On Sundays, things are different.
The weekly interruption of Sunday often leaves Christian parents discouraged and fatigued. Carrying our fussy littles ones to the minivan after worship, we wonder if Sundays are good for children. It can seem much easier to stay home and stick to the usual routine.
Of course, we ought to have compassion on our children every day of their lives. We recognize that they are weak, and we meet their physical and emotional needs with love and mercy. We remember to bring those Cheerios and that comforting scrap of tattered blanket. But we cannot escape the fact that on Sundays, everything is different. And that’s actually a good thing.
If the Lord has called this day blessed (Ex. 20:11) and has made it for our good (Mark 2:27) then we can rejoice in it, not only for ourselves but also for our little ones. The day that comes with proscriptions and provisions for sons and daughters, employers and employees, animals and guests, comes with blessing for babies too. On Sundays, the Lord teaches us—even the youngest of us—something about himself and his grace.
God Is the Lord of Time
On Sundays, we acknowledge that God is the author and ruler of time itself. At creation, God made time. He separated light from dark and established the daily cycle of morning and evening (Gen. 1:3-5). At creation, God also organized those days into a pattern of six and one (Gen. 2:1-3): six days for ordinary work and recreation, one day for rest (Ex. 20:11).
As tempting as it might seem to believe we are masters of our own time—carefully manipulating an interlocking puzzle of Google calendar entries—we are not. God is the one who created time, who set us in it and bound us by it, and God is the one who rightfully directs us how to use it. When we submit to his pattern of six and one, we acknowledge that God is the Lord of time.
For our children, too, the disruption of Sunday is a chance to remember that even our schedules are under the Lord’s authority. Once a week, the Lord breaks into our routine and reminds us that naptimes and snack times are not ultimate, nor are they determined by our own desires. In all things, we serve the Lord.
God’s People Are a Corporate People