I love Sundays. I am an unashamed Sunday supporter. As a poor student it was the day I was most like to get a free roast dinner. Now, as an older and wiser mother of two, I very rarely have roast dinner and am in complete awe of my Mum, who managed to pull it off every week.
You may be sensing a food theme here. As I've got older, with two children in school and a husband who is a worship leader, there are very few opportunities to sit down as a family and eat together. Have time eating together can be so precious. There is a reason why Jesus sits down to eat with people so much - it provides chance for rest and reconnection. Sundays provide that chance.
Many years ago, my husband managed a shop. It was a nice shop, that treated its staff very well for the most part. However, in a smallish shop with a limited staff team, there was no way that my husband could not work on a Sunday. He did his best to limit it, but as a manager he had to ensure enough cover every day and that often meant filling any gaps himself. Early closing on a Sunday mean that Sunday evening was the only guaranteed time in the week that we could sit down together as a family.
You cannot underestimate the value of this in the hustle and bustle of family life, a time when the children knew daddy was going to be around. A time when I had some guaranteed lazing on the sofa with my husband time. Maybe this isn’t your ideal Sunday. Now, we go to church, walk the dog and, you’ve guessed it - eat together.
Times and seasons bring change, but there is one constant. We make choices. We choose what is best for our family. And we make that choice, whilst we are all together. That’s why I care so much about the Sunday Trading Laws. Take away that choice and we are saying that people’s lives outside of work do not matter. That the only value we place on our fellow humans is their ability to make money. I believe that this is wrong.
At Labour Party Conference this year, we asked hundreds of people what they thought. Most of them agreed. Our Twitter feed (@chrleft) is jam packed with people displaying their ideal Sunday for all the world to see, Facebook too. Even the newly elected leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn joined in. We spoke to MPs, party members, church goers and union activists to name just a few. Food, family, friends and faith were the common themes.
We need to protect Sunday Trading laws. We need to say that people are more than just economic units, and that rest and relaxation should form at least part of our week. But most importantly, we must allow people to have a communal time to do that. Should Sunday Trading laws be relaxed, newly contracted workers will have to work long Sundays. Next, existing workers will have pressure put on them to do the same.
Let’s give space for people to make the best choice for them, for their family, for outworking their faith, and for giving themselves space to breath. Contact your MP, tell them what you like to do on a Sunday and why having that choice is important to you. As with Sundays - collective is best. Tweet/email/Facebook your pictures of you enjoying #oursunday. Click here for more detailed suggestions. We can do this together.