Christians are notorious for flooding restaurants after church services. I have even heard pastors joke about keeping sermons short so that listeners can beat members of another congregation to a popular restaurant. Eating out after church provides an opportunity for extended fellowship and helps Christians avoid the work of preparing and cleaning up after a meal on a day that is usually set aside for rest.
But what about the restaurant employees? Are we forcing them to work on Sundays by going out to eat? Should we be?
My family occasionally eats out on Sundays, and we often walk around the mall, go bargain hunting at local drugstores, or go grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons. I bothers me that I’m making others work on Sundays, even those who wouldn’t go to church anyway, but I hate to miss out on the free-after-rebate deals that are sold out by Monday, and walking around the mall is one of my husband’s favorite forms of relaxation.
As for grocery shopping, sometimes finding time to shop on another day is more stressful than actually going on a Sunday. We tend to schedule any full-day family activities for Saturdays (our normal grocery shopping days) because church takes a half-day of our time. Our pantries are nearly empty by the weekend, and when we do have a busy Saturday, we have to find some time to go shopping – Sunday afternoon tends to be the most convenient.
I’ve heard some arguments that partially relieve my guilty conscience about making others work Sundays. I wonder if I’m rationalizing, though, when I remind myself that the store would be open even I didn’t come. So far, the best argument I have heard for patronizing businesses on Sundays is the impossibility of going to the logical extreme – if I don’t want anyone else to work on Sunday, I couldn’t go to the emergency room, call the fire department, or even turn on a light one day a week.
I wouldn’t advocate reinstating the blue laws that required stores to remain closed on Sundays – after all, not everyone worships on a Sunday – but I would like to do something to honor those that prioritize worship over commerce by staying closed one day a week. I would also like to see Christians doing something more to promote a slower pace of life one day a week.