Written by Tera Michelson
We are a calendar family. We relish the turn of the new year, when the world invites us to crack open a fresh calendar featuring the art, cartoons or phrases we have chosen to inspire us for the year. The pièce de résistance of our household collection is the 4-foot, black-and-white calendar that covers our kitchen wall. You cannot pass through the heart of our home without noticing its 4-inch numbers in Helvetica.
The first year we brought this calendar home, it initiated a heady discussion: which day is the first of the week, Sunday or Monday? This modern version of the calendar was designed by an Italian, in a region where the calendar week typically began with Monday and ended with Sunday. This was a big problem for my husband, who can only see each of his weeks beginning with Sunday. It bothered him so much that he cut the vertical strip of Sundays from the right of the calendar and hung them on their own separate hook to the left, putting Sunday in its proper place at the beginning of each week.
On what day do your weeks begin? The world often tells us, not only with its printed calendars, that we work to the weekend. We earn the time off after a full and busy week of goals and accomplishments. My well-intentioned spouse made a theological point with his scissors. When we start each week with Sunday, we work from the Sabbath. When we start our weeks with a focus on our relationship with God, a time set apart from the world, we begin our week refreshed and renewed, centered on God and focused on our callings in the world. We humans thrive on routine and patterns, the rhythm of life. A misplaced Sabbath day upsets that delicate balance.
This calls to mind the popular story of Peter in Matthew 14, when, at the urging of Jesus, he ventured out of his boat to walk on the water. When Peter loses focus on Jesus, he looks at the waves instead. Instantly he is overwhelmed with fear and feels the water rise against his ankles as he begins to sink.
In the Bible, Jesus gives us the example over and over again: he rests, retreats and recovers and then gets to work. As God’s people, we are called to do the same. We observe a Sabbath. We connect and reconnect with God and our loved ones. We work hard and we play hard. We experience grace when we lose focus on our Savior and start to sink into the crashing waves of life. Jesus reaches out to us, making it possible to do the impossible.
Let the pendulum of your life, week by week, day by day, and moment to moment, swing in response to God’s great love.
TERA MICHELSON is a writer, photographer, teacher, super-volunteer, mama and wife—not necessarily in that order. When she is not driving a carpool, you will find her baking cupcakes, walking a scruffy dog named Otto or attending a meeting at church or the local school. Tera enjoys thinking and sharing about family faith-building in a complicated world. She lives in a hilly suburb of Cincinnati, OH, with her pastor
husband and three teenaged children.