Spiritual Journey: Special Days
The first day of the week.
Always a new beginning.
Sundays always have been and always will be a special day for me. A day different from all the other days of the week. A day to join with others in song and prayer and scripture and sermon. A day for learning God’s Word with others, for worshiping God together. Sundays are a day for my family, to purposefully share a meal or to celebrate a birthday, a day to talk and laugh, and to celebrate each other. When I am away from home on Sunday or I miss attending church, my entire week seems out of kilter … until the next Sunday arrives and resets the course for me.
When I was a girl, waking up on Sunday mornings was not like any other day of the week. Here’s my story.
Instead of my hair being in two long braids, it is wrapped around rags. You see, on Saturday nights, Mom curls my long dark hair carefully around rags, special rags made and kept for this purpose only. Mom dampens my hair and sections it for the curls. Then I hold one end of the rag against the top of my head as Mom curls a section of my hair around and around the rag like a corkscrew and then she wraps the rest of the rag around the hair. She then ties her end and the end I’m holding into a knot. We repeat that for each curl. (See how it’s done here.)
Just before time to go to church, Mom takes the rags out and my hair falls into long Victorian spiral curls. In the summer, Mom ties them back with a satin ribbon. But since it is winter, she’ll let me just wear them lose.
My Sunday dress is hanging from the closet door. Looped over the hanger is my crinoline petticoat with layers of ruffles and tulle. I never wear this dress or crinoline petticoat to school. Some girls do. Tucked into my shiny, shiny black patent leather shoes is a pair of white anklets with lace on the top. I’ll fold them over only once to make a cuff, not three times like the bobby socks I wear to school.
The aroma of freshly perked coffee filling my room tells me Mom is up. The quiet tells me that my four brothers are still sleeping. The warmth from the coal-burning potbelly stove that is in the corner of the living room, directly below my bed, is pushing the cold out of my bedroom. You see, there’s a vent in my bedroom floor, right beside my bed, right over the stove.
Pulling my blanket with me, I lean over the edge of my bed and look through the vent into the living room. I lay there half in and half out of bed, listening to the music from the Zenith radio on top of one of the barrister bookcases in our living room. I love those bookcases because each shelf has a door with glass that raises up and slides back into the shelves. It’s one of my chores to clean the glass and polish the wood. Daddy’s books fill the shelves.
I think about getting up. I know when I slip down the stairs, I’ll see Mom sitting at the dining room table. And like every Sunday morning, on the table near her will be a cup of coffee, an empty plate with a knife across it that she used to butter her toast, and her open Bible. She will be writing in a notebook, copying Scripture references and making notes of the thoughts she will share with her Sunday School class. And when she hears my footsteps, she’ll look up with a smile.
But I don’t get up just yet. I lie back on my pillow, snuggle into my blanket, and close my eyes — singing in my head the words of the hymn that’s broadcasting to us from the Moody Bible radio station.
“Very early in the morning,
on the first day of the week,
they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
. . .
Now when He rose early
on the first day of the week,
He appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom He had cast seven demons.“
-Mark 16:2, 9