We all like time off and for those of us enjoying a Bank Holiday today we have Sir John Lubbuck to thank. In 1871 Sir John sponsored the Bank Holidays Act, which for the first time established a set number of Mondays when people were not required to work. Legislation was required because a rural economy in which time off was regulated by the seasons, and in which Mondays were by tradition an ‘easy’ day, was being undermined by the effect of the industrial revolution and the factories in which people could work all day every day.
The clash between those who want to work and those who want to rest is not a new one of course. One of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament is the injunction that the people of God should take one day in seven to rest from their work, but it’s a commandment they consistently failed to observe. Why rest when there’s money to be made? But the point of the day was that it was not just for rest, but also a day for worship. As such it was not just a holiday, but also a Holy Day, and it’s that idea that lies at the heart of our holiday today – a day to rest and shelter from the rain, but a day too to remember the holy God who created us and who longs for us to rest with Him and in Him.