I am bent over a basket, pulling out my warm white clothes into a mound, soon to be folded. As I do, a man I have never seen enters the laundry room and purchases a few drinks from the vending machine. Then, with his arms full of bottles he asks me a question.
“Are we having fun, yet?”
“Excuse me?” I reply looking up at him.
“Are we having fun, yet?” he repeats.
I look at him puzzled, and respond, “Um sure.”
Is this some new way of greeting people? If it is, I’ve never heard it before.
He tells me, “I try to stay as far away from the laundry as possible.”
I nod and say “Oh” just before he exits the laundry room.
I pick up my basket and follow him out.
He is standing with a co-worker as they wait for an elevator. I wait near them, arms full, as they talk with one another, before the man who spoke with me turns to walk down the hallway toward the front of the building.
His co-worker waits beside me. When the door opens, he allows me to carry my basket onto the elevator, before he joins me.
I ask, “Would you push two, please?”
He hits five and follows with two, saying “Sure.”
The next words from his mouth are the same as his co-worker.
“Are we having fun yet?”
I pause at the oddity of it. “Yes? I mean, sure. I like when my laundry gets done. I mean, I like having it all neatly in the closet.” I manage weakly.
Where did these people come from? Are you having fun yet? Is this some sort of creed or mantra? I really am confused. I shuffle off the elevator and sincerely wish the man a wonderful day.
As I walk down the hallway toward my apartment, I chuckle at it. Am I having fun?
Wasn’t my prayer as I walked toward my laundry that I would have some words about rest for today? Did God not answer my prayer in their words?
“Are we having fun?” Their words are rather similar to what God was saying to Israel through the prophet Isaiah.
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbathand from doing as you please on my holy day,if you call the Sabbath a delightand the LORD’s holy day honorable,and if you honor it by not going your own wayand not doing as you please or speaking idle words,then you will find your joy in the LORD,and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the landand to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
God is saying I want you to be authentic. I want you to care about the things I care about. I want you to enjoy me. I want you to have fun. You call my Sabbath a delight, live as such.
In my Judaism class in college we talked about a Hebrew word for the Sabbath that Jews use. It is oneg. It means to delight. This is the word used here. The Sabbath is to be filled with that which is enjoyable and restful. It is a time to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings God has given.
God’s words in Isaiah 58 tell Israel that they are going through the motions. They say that God is important, but they do not value the things that He values and so their actions are empty. He wants them to begin responding to Him and living in a way that will bring them life. He wants them to truly delight in the Sabbath and rest in Him.
He invites me to do the same.
It is Labor Day weekend, a time the country stops to rest in celebration of the work that has been done. It is a time where I will have a chance to spend some additional time responding to this Sabbath question, “Are we having fun yet?”
I can hear God asking me. I think about the friends that I will be spending time with this weekend, the anniversary I will be celebrating Sunday, the freedom to fill up the time with the delightful and life-giving things that bring real joy in Christ. I think about this moment and the opportunity to respond to life as a gift or life as tedious task. I choose gift.
I hear God calling out “Are we having fun yet?”
I respond, “Why, yes. I think we are.”
Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek to delight in the Lord and enjoy him. May we find that we are full of gratitude for His gifts and that we have blessing to heap upon those whose lives are difficult. May we find that Labor Day is an opportunity for continued rest.