Let’s take a look at what her Sundays looked like compared to ours.
Life was different in the 50’s. In Ohio, there was a Blue Law that required stores and most places of work and business to be closed. This made it possible for most people to be in church. My father recalls that almost everyone went to church. This social expectation even crossed into the classroom. My father recalls his public school 5th grade teacher asking on Monday mornings who went to church and they had to raise their hands. His family sometimes missed and he was a little embarrassed he couldn’t raise his hand – could you imagine that now in our schools?
My grandmother usually spent her Saturdays preparing for her Sunday day of rest
. This meant that she cooked her Saturday meals (usually simple hamburgers) plus her Sunday meal (usually a roast and sheet cake). After attending church on Sundays, she merely reheated the prepared food and served it.
Following the meal they spent time with friends and relatives. They would talk and visit all afternoon and then return back to Sunday evening church. My father’s family would often go on a Sunday drive to look at the countryside or skip rocks in a lake.
Sunday dress was very different. Men would not even consider going to church without a suit jacket and tie. Even the little boys (as pictured above) wore suit coats. And on 90+ degree days, in churches with no air-conditioning, the men just sat there sweating. The women also wore their best dresses and shoes and hats too.
What can we learn from Sundays in the 1950’s?
1. Worship must be a number one priority. It has become culturally acceptable to not attend church on Sundays (and trust me no teachers are asking!) or to miss for less than urgent reasons. Sports, amusement parks, boating, or doing yard work is generally an acceptable way in our culture to spend our Sunday mornings. While we do not have a legalistic God – and this list is rather legalistic, I just want to point out that God’s word says these things must not be a “habit”. I do not want to impose needless guilt on anyone – so the question you need to ask yourself is – “is this a one time thing or a habit?” Only you can answer that question for yourself.
Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Acts 20:7 says “On the first day of the week they came together to break bread.”
2. Prepare ourselves for the day of worship. Your temperament on Sundays affects your families and their ability to enjoy Sundays. If your mornings are CRAZY and everyone is on edge because you have not prepared on Saturdays – nor gotten up early enough on Sundays – determine to set time aside on Saturdays to have all your ducks in a row. Proverbs 31:27 says a wise woman “watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Do not let your idleness on Saturday night effect the Lord’s Day of worship. Be diligent.
3. Make Sundays a family day.
Our culture is very active and busy. Families become disjointed as each individual does their own thing. Families are breaking down as a result. Sundays are a great day to slow down and reconnect. Be purposeful in thinking through how you can create a simple day for the family to be together.
4. Dress your best. Now again – here’s where I do not want to cross the line into legalism. I know in many churches jeans are acceptable and God truly is judging our hearts not our outer wear BUT that being said. Put some thought and time into what your family wears on Sundays. If you were going to meet the President today – what would you wear? Be sure you don’t respect the President more than God. More importantly – modesty is a HUGE issue in church today. In the 50’s women were modest in church. If you are a mommy of little ones – be sure your dresses are not too low or too short. Too often men get an eye full when moms are leaning down to pick up babies. I know it can be completely unintentional. Just guard your body and modesty. Double check your dresses by leaning over in the mirror – if cleavage shows – put a tank on under your dress.
I don’t want to return to the 1950’s, but I do think there are a few things we can learn from the Titus 2 women of the 50’s. Try to implement one of these things this Sunday! I’m working on number 2 – being more prepared so the mornings can go real smoothly. What do you need to work on?
Walk with the King!