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Grocery Stores and God's Grace

We went to the grocery store after church yesterday. We were out of milk. And bacon. And bananas. And a whole long list of items. And while we were at it, I remembered the list of things I had been meaning to buy at Target. So we divided and conquered and came home an hour later, trunk full.

For a variety of personal reasons, we try to take Sundays as a day of rest for our family. There are Biblical reasons for it, sure. When I rest on a Sunday, I remind myself that it is not my work that keeps the world running. I get a good, and humbling, reminder of who I am. When I rest on a Sunday, I acknowledge God as creator and sustainer of all that is.

But there's more to it than that. There are two places in the Old Testament where the 10 Commandments are listed. Each includes a command to rest on the seventh day, but the reasons given are different. In Exodus 20, God commands rest in recognition of God's own rest after the work of creation. But in Deuteronomy 5: "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day." In other words, the Israelites are to rest as an act of compassion and justice. Not only are they to acknowledge their status as free people who are not forced to work, but they also are instructed to allow their servants and animals a day of rest.

So here's my question: When I go to the grocery store on a Sunday, am I participating in an act of injustice? Participating in someone else working in order to make my life easier? I know, I know, our economy is different, and just because they are working on Sunday doesn't mean they don't get a day of rest... But still, perhaps I would have participated more fully in God's gift of grace if I had just stayed home.

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