This past year a certain cable tv provider launched a commercial campaign entitled, 'Make Room for Sunday.' As a Christian and as a pastor, the message was offensive to me: ‘Make NFL games your priority on Sundays.’ Part of my growth as a Christian has been largely due to my understanding of the biblical view of Sunday, and so the message of the cable tv ad is in that respect, a challenge to my own spiritual growth.
In one of these commercials, a young brother and sister were on their front lawn selling lemonade, on a bright, Sunday afternoon. A jogger stops by to do her neighborly duty and buy a cup. The mother of the siblings rushes out, pouring all of the children's lemonade into one, colossal Solo cup. There is humor in that the jogger is surprised by the amount she gets for the price (more than needed), the children are out of lemonade, and the mother's motive becomes clear: she wanted to bring the children back inside, so she wouldn't have to look after them, and thus miss the NFL game. The commercial climaxes with the mother and two children on the sofa cheering for their favorite football team. Thus, she 'Made Room for Sunday.' All of this was made possible by the cable tv provider. That’s what Sunday is all about, right…time with family?
I suppose the ad could have been a little more palatable for Christians if it showed mom or dad rushing the family out of church early in order to get home for the game. But that would raise the issue of Sunday being for the Lord, and not for professional sports-not good publicity for cable tv or the NFL. Or maybe the issue is just not on the radar for the majority of Americans, perhaps even Christian Amercians.
As a Christian and as a pastor, I want to encourage you, not to 'Make Room for Sunday,' but to 'Take Back Sunday!' Make it a priority! See that you and your family cherish it, not merely as a commandment, but as the gift that it is, from the Lord, and in the words of Isaiah 58:13, to 'call the Sabbath a delight!' In order to help with this, our next few installments will be on this theme, 'Taking Back Sunday.’