Easy on Sunday Morning

Easy like Sunday Morning

Pentecost 79

It was on their fifth album, an indication that they had received some popularity but the song was designed to help the Commodores cross over, bridge the gap between their audiences of R & B fans to the larger listening group of all music fans.  “Easy” became a #1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singer Charts, now known as the R & B/Hip Hop Songs listing and #4 on the top 100 Songs list. The question on everyone’s mind, though, was not if it was a good song or if it would indeed provide them a bridge between audiences.  No, most people just wanted to know what the last line of the chorus meant.

Today is Sunday, the Sabbath.  For two of the Abrahamic faiths, the Sabbath represented the seventh day, the day in which their mythology says their Creator rested.  (It is on the calendar day of Friday in the Jewish faith because of the many evolutions of the modern day calendar but that is a discussion for another time.)  In Islam, devotion is considered to be an everyday thing but on Fridays they do have a noon prayer service.  There are five daily calls to worship for a Muslim and three voluntary prayers.  During the Friday noontime service, a sermon is given and then the prayers commence with men and women being separated.

The Calendar for Judaism and Christianity has undergone separation and the reasons for that are found in history.  Both religions, though, set aside a day to for more concentrated worship.  For the Jewish faith, the day begins at sundown on Friday.  No work is to be done from this time until sundown on Saturday.  Families gather for a meal which has been prepared in advance in the orthodox household and then on Saturday morning, all go to temple to worship.

For Christians, the resurrection of the character Jesus began their separation from their Jewish beginnings and Sunday, the day believed to be the day of this resurrection of Jesus over the mortal death of his mortal being, became the first day of their calendar week, their Sabbath.  On Sunday morning, for over three centuries in many areas of the United States, businesses closed.  Laws stated what work could be completed for monetary reimbursement and what items could be purchased.  People were expected to be in church on Sunday morning and then the rest of the day was set aside for family time and enjoying the creation of their deity.

Lionel Richie, Commodore group member and songwriter of many of their hits including “Easy”, the song from which the title lyric comes, is from Tuskegee, Alabama.  Ritchie described his hometown once in an interview by saying it “closed down Saturday night at 11:59 P.M.” and then reopened on Monday morning.  Nothing moved on Sunday morning, according to Ritchie.  People awoke at later times and then eased into the day, attending church around noon and then having a large church dinner afterwards.  Older people would sit under the trees and talk while young adults cleaned up and children played outside the church under the trees.

“Suffer the little children to come unto me.”  This quote from the Christian mythologies known as the New Testament is part of a story which is used to indicate that beliefs are for everyone, even small children who seemingly would not be able to understand all the ramification and reasoning of the faith.  As a parent, it is probably the one quote I repeated more often than any others.

Sunday mornings were chaotic in our household.  And that is an understatement.  Whether it was one child or all of them, whether I had planned out their apparel and accompanying socks, shoes, jackets, etc., whether the weather was comfortable of a more enticing swimming weather or stay-at-home freezing sleet or snow, whether we overslept or not…Sunday mornings were hectic and busy.  Sunday is often described as a “day of rest”.  For me it was anything but restful.  By the time we were all in the car going to our house of worship, I definitely felt like I had suffered and my Jewish and Islamic friends reported feeling similar agonies.

I was a dutiful parent with my first child.  We appeared at our place of worship coordinated in our attire with hair styled and everything neat and orderly.  By the time I had my last child, I just wanted their bodies covered and clean.  Forget having socks that matched their outfits or even matched one foot to the other.  And when I sat down in the community room at my house of worship and gave a deep, heartfelt sigh in gratitude that we had finally gotten there all in one, albeit discombobulated piece, I was joined by other parents who had gone through the exact same struggle to get there.

Mohammed knew several tribes of Jewish followers and felt their “book” gave them a sense of unity in their legends of faith.  He quoted their character Moses, although rather vaguely at times, and took pride in his interpretations when they varied.  The Islamic deity was so powerful that it needed no day of rest, for example.  What the three Abrahamic faiths have in common is the call to faithfulness.

“El Emunah” was the Hebrew deity of faithfulness.  Today Emunah is used as a girl’s name, signifying not only that one is faithful but that one can be renewed daily by steadfast faith.  I have stated before and will say so again that I do not think faith is supposed to be comfortable.  Faith should be, I believe, steadfast – every present, ever strong, ever motivating.  In this context, faith is persistent and represented by the efforts of one’s daily living as well as in one’s worship.

Regardless of what I went through to get to my communal reverence service, once there I was at peace.  I felt secure and loved.  My soul was …easy.  I have learned in my maturing that faith should be restful.  It can be annoying to be reminded to act in the faith of my beliefs and not in instant human response sometimes, but overall, it is satisfying, relaxing inwardly my soul and thoughts.  Sunday mornings are my “easy” in an otherwise busy life.

All too often our appearance can take over the real purpose for our being somewhere.  Awards programs are preceded by reportings from the arrivals of the honored and invited guests, reportings that often are two or three times in length compared to the actual event.  My faith in taking my children to church without their looking like fashion plates was far greater than the faith I exhibited in taking a beautifully dressed child.  After all, my god was not supposed to care about my clothes, just my heart and soul.  As I grew older and began to realize what my actions were really saying – the appearance meant more than the going – and changed that behavior, I recognized that my children were happier in their faith when they could ease into the day of worship instead of treating it like a necessary function of turmoil.

We tend to put so many caveats on our identities as people of faith that we overlook the need to have that faith, to be steadfast in its teachings.  Someday I hope we are able to approach each other with the love and open arms that we believe our deities have for us.  Someday I hope that acceptance relies more on our internal goodness than in our outward appearance – what we are wearing and our physical characteristics.  Someday I hope we are able to put the world to bed at 11:59 P.M. and awake and show each other love, love that comes to us as easy as Sunday morning brings the new day.

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