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Paul Rahe’s lovely account of the Sabbath in Jerusalem, below, got me to wondering: What ever happened to the Sabbath here in this country?
When I was a kid — not all that long ago — we still had enough of a sense of the Christian Sabbath, Sunday, that very few stores were ever open. It would never have so much as occurred to coaches to schedule Little League games, say, for Sunday. On the one occasion I can recall on which I wanted to meet some friends to see a movie (which, in those days, required going to an actual movie theater), I had to get special permission from my father to do so.
That world is gone — all gone. Commerce is just as heavy on Sunday as on Saturday. My kids compete in sports events on Sunday as if it were, again, just a second Saturday. And it’s not just that a sense of the Sabbath has disappeared from the wider culture. I can’t recall ever hearing a priest devote a homily to keeping the Sabbath set apart for prayers and family — for that matter, I can’t recall hearing a priest so much as mention the Sabbath.
“Thou shalt remember the Sabbath day,” needless to say, remains one of the Ten Commandments, but we have forgotten the Sabbath altogether even so.