At 0800 a.m home was unusually quiet, people under the same roof were still asleep. Many accepted the accustomed idea of having late Saturday evenings and longer slumber on Sunday mornings. We left home, and in our brisk walk to the train station and on our way to church, I was unexpectedly made aware and startled by the vibrancy of activities on the streets. We passed by several food outlets and delis and stores. There was the usual assortment of people, elderly uncles intent on getting their breakfast, gentlemen in khakis absorbed in morning news, and groups of married ladies with their babies taking morning strolls and associating. Stalls’ kitchens were apparently busy and bustling. Markets were selling the regular items and there were aunties carrying baskets and pushing shopping carts. I never really cared much with any of them on other days, but that Sunday, it dawned upon me that there was not any difference in the way routines were carried out; and business seemed even better and thriving.

“In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath. And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy. (Nehemiah 13:15-22)


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