Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday - the Lord's Day - not the Sabbath

God was so faithful this week to give me clarification on a topic I've been asking Him about for awhile. As I studied Isaiah through a Bible study I am apart of - Chapter 58 lead me to a more indepth study of the "Sabbath". What I found out was pretty remarkable! To me, at least. God showed me that what I had grown up believing about the Sabbath was actually very un-scriptural...or maybe I should say non-scriptural.

The scripture I found on "the sabbath" made it clear to me that it was a special sign between God and Israel. It was a day for them to put aside (Saturday by the way not Sunday) to reflect on God and all He had done for them. It was a time to build up their spiritual memory as God so often tried to help them do in their journey. It feels many times in their journey God is saying, "remember, remember, wake up, remember all I've done. Stay with me, focus focus." He wanted them to set aside a day to remember their bondage in Egypt that He had rescued them from. (Deut 5:15)

For Israel, the law they lived under included honoring the sabbath. This specific command had very specific requirements even to the point of telling them they could not leave their house (so obviously those who think keeping the sabbath means "going to church" can't be right on) Ex 16:29.... they couldn't build a fire Ex 35:3.... and couldn't cause anybody else to work Deut 5:14....

Do people really try to follow the law like this today? Not that I know of! Seems to me the 'church' at some point just "changed" the idea of the Sabbath. I don't know when or how or why it happened... but Sunday became the christian sabbath.... and with it all sorts of new 'rules' and 'traditions' to check off our list to make sure we're meeting whatever standard it is we are striving for. I couldn't find a verse in scripture that was a command for christians to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was mentioned in regards to Paul as he tried to proclaim the good news to the Jews but even then scripture says, "To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law." I Cor 9:20 He wasn't going to the synagogue to be a "good christian"... he was going to reach the lost... in the synagogue aka "house of worship"....hmmm...

If a christian wants to observe a Sabbath like Israel was commanded to...then do it.. I don't know what that would look like today.... but we are not called to judge them (Romans 14:5-6). Let them offer to God whatever they desire... if this is an offering they'd like to bring to Him, wonderful. For me, Galatians 4:9-10 says enough. I don't want to live under the law. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 I guess the only thing that 'bothers' me is that church 'leaders' 'promote' or 'teach' the Sabbath unscripturally... they use the Sabbath commands in the Bible and apply them to christians today with new modern twists on it and requirements... I don't get how teaching like that can continue on unchecked..... It's one thing for christians to want to offer a Sabbath to God out of a genuine devotion.... it's another for 'leaders' to teach doctrine of the Sabbath incorrectly...

Anyway --- all of this knowledge I found left me wondering what to do with Sunday. Seems to be a set aside time for the Lord but I didn't understand it all. I believe the early church lived life together... daily meeting, teaching, encouraging, serving... and as my husband & I seek to be the church outside of the traditional (including modern - sounds like an oxymoron) church settings I am always left with a feeling like Sunday is a unique/different day. So what should Sunday be about. Should it be different then any other day? When we have planned gatherings/fellowship it does tend to be on Sunday.... but we don't feel it has to be.... so what is Sunday all about? That's where I left off mid-week.

So this morning, I woke up confident that I was not going to have my Sunday weirdness aka battling guilt, second-guessing our direction, trying to retreat back to what I know God freed me from... I asked God to PLEASE help me figure out how to get over this and figure out "what to do" with Sundays. I knew that we didn't have any plans today for a gathering with anybody else from the church.... so it was just our immediate church... my husband & I and our 2 children. We made it our goal to find ways today to enjoy God together, as a family. That was all. and we did! And every time I started feeling that weirdness try to creep up I praised God through a song or through talking about Him to my children or husband.

At one point during the morning, I sat at the piano and starting praising God with some of my favorite old Easter time hymns. The kids listened... well let's be serious here...the kids played with Daddy and they all 'listened' as in - heard me playing. (Raymond does pipe in once in awhile which makes me cheese so big to know he has learned these words just from listening to me - like when I heard him singing "Blessed Assurance" with me - unforgettable moment for me).

I came to a song I didn't know. It was called, "the First Lord's Day".... and as soon as I read the lyrics - they popped out at me and I just *knew* God was giving me the next answer I needed. They rolled a stone before the door, as in the grave He lay; God raised Him up, our living Lord, And made the first Lord's Day. We sing for joy, we sing for joy, with loving thanks we say: "God raised Him up, our living Lord and made the first Lord's Day"

This is what makes Sunday so special!!! That is what Sunday is all about! Once again - everything everything everything is about Jesus and the beautiful news of His victory over death and sin!!! Sunday is the Lord's Day!!!! A celebration of the relationship we have with Him and the JOY and THANKFULNESS we have because of His love shown through the Death & Resurrection of our Redeemer!! It makes sense for the church to desire to come together every Sunday with a planned celebration gathering to celebrate and remember that First Lord's Day!! The most pivotal day in the history of existence!!! Sunday he arose!

Ohh God I wish our church fellowships today would gather for the same reason!! God if they are only going to gather ONE day for ONE hour every week - I pray God that it would be to focus on you and this Good News that happened on this first Lord's Day Sunday!! Jesus rose on a Sunday! the first Lord's Day. How come I never understood what "the Lord's Day" even meant? Wow how did I miss all that?!

Some scripture showing Jesus rose on a Sunday:
Matthew 28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Mark 16:2
Luke 24:1
John 20:1

After the resurrection - every day was different. Everything was changed. Ev-er-y-thing in the disciple's lives was changed after that First Lord's Day! and for us too!

The law we could never live up to was set aside and there was a new covenant!! by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:14. And just as every day was radically different than before that First Lord's Day... every Sunday was such a celebration for the followers of our Savior. Every Sunday sunrise would bring with it the memory of that uncontainable joy and thankfulness and restored hope that seeing the resurrected Christ brought to them on that first Resurrection Sunday. How could they NOT desire to gather with their brothers & sisters and celebrate that First Lord's day together each week?! Focusing on that day would be the fuel they would need to move them ahead as they battled against a world that didn't know, understand or want to believe the miracle they saw with their own eyes.

We remember and commemorate many days and holidays in our year so that seems like normal human nature... I bet those disciples celebrated joyously every Sunday sort of like we commemorate days! What they lived and saw is immeasurably more powerful and amazing then any day or holiday we commemorate now so of course Sunday would be special to them! I get so excited just thinking of the joy and hope and just downright jubilee they must have felt to see Jesus resurrected.

So it seems so appropriate that the church would gather on Sunday. Did it become a rule to? No.... Did it become a command to? No I don't think Hebrews 10:25 applies to Sundays only. (Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing...) Was it the only day they met? NO! I guess it was just something they fell into a habit out of sincere celebration of the good news! A Sunday couldn't pass where they wouldn't want to get with their brothers & sisters to reflect & remember together what a life changing world shattering miracle they were witness to.

I am sure the majority of the early church met daily for the same reason. I know they didn't wait til Sunday to celebrate - I am sure they reflected and encouraged each other daily in the gospel! But Sunday became the 'regular' more 'planned' day of fellowship for the church it seems... even though they lived life together daily. Acts 20:7a & I Corinthians 16:2a I believe are great examples that the church from the beginning of its beginning would make Sunday gathering a normal part of their life together
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread....
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up.....

What a beautiful example to follow. Being so captivated by the joy and hope and excitement of the good news that you desire to be with your brothers & sisters who know the same Savior and author of salvation. Not because it's a duty. Not because you're trying to please God or earn something from Him. But because the good news is your whole world, it's everything and it's worth celebrating over!

Sunday is such a special day. It's not the christian Sabbath. The only similiarity our Sunday has to Israel's Saturday is that it's a day God created... and it's a day to remember God's deliverance! Sunday is the day Christ conquered the GRAVE!!! Rising up out of the darkness and bringing light to the world. The son rose as the sun rose that day!! I don't think a Sunday morning will ever be the same for me again, either.

But when it comes down to it... I am pretty sure God wants that same joy, thankfuless and celebration to happen *every* day not just Sundays! I am excited to think that someday EVERY day will be a Sunday!!


BettyB said...

wonderful post thank you

babyfordawn1983 said...

A lot of insight here Randi! Personally, this is not something I have been struggling with but some of your revelations tie into what I have been wondering about lately.

Some of my family are requesting that we start our Christmas list. For some reason this year it has really bothered me to have people requesting this from me. I have already told them I don't wish for anything. Christmas is not about gifts but about what our Lord has given us! Sundays and holidays are so blown out of what He wants them to be. It's crazy!

One day everyday will be a celebration of His life and love. One day we will rejoice in His death and how He rose from the dead every single day. But until that day comes where everyday is a celebration we just have to keep our hearts on what He has asked. :)