By Maria Von Trapp & Family
OUR NEIGHBORS in Austria were a young couple, Baron and Baroness
K. They were getting increasingly curious about Russia and what life there was really like. One day they decided to take a six week trip all over Russia in their car. This was in the time when
it was still possible to get a visa. Of course, at the border they were received by a special guide who watched their every step and did not leave them for a moment until he deposited them safely
again at the border, but they still managed to get a good first-hand impression. Upon their return they wrote a book about their experiences, and when it was finished, they invited their
neighbors and friends to their home in order to read some of their work to them. I shall always recall how slowly and solemnly Baron K. read us the title: “The Land Without a Sunday.” Of all
the things they had seen and observed, one experience had most deeply impressed them: that Russia had done away with Sunday. This had shocked them even more than what they saw of Siberian
concentration camps or of the misery and hardship in cities and country. The absence of Sunday seemed to be the root of all the evil.
“Instead of a Sunday,’ Baron K. told us, “the Russians have a day
off. This happens at certain intervals which vary in different parts of the country. First they had a five‑day week, with the sixth day off, then they had a nine-day work period, with the tenth day
off; then again it was an eight day week. What a difference between a day off and a Sunday! The people work in shifts. While one group enjoys its day off, the others continue to work in the factories
or on the farms or in the stores, which are always open. As a result the over‑all impression throughout the country was that of incessant work, work, work. The atmosphere was one of constant rush and
drive; finally, we confessed to each other that what we were missing most was not a well-cooked meal, or a hot bath, but a quiet, peaceful Sunday with church bells ringing and people resting after prayer.”
Source: excerpts of “The Land Without a Sunday”, 1955, Emanuel Books.
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested
on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis
“Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour,
and shalt do all thy works. But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor
thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord
blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” (Exodus 20:8-11).