Reclaiming the Lord's Day

A few days ago someone shared an article with me from the Catholic newsletter, Our Sunday Visitor. The title captured my attention— "Reclaiming the Lord's Day." In it our Catholic brother stated: "There was a time when Sunday was a special day. It was a special day, a day of celebration, a day of rest."

The writer went on to say, "In the story of creation, God rested on the seventh day…because he wanted to give us an example of how to live. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, he reminded us 'to keep holy the Sabbath day.'

"Jesus observed the Sabbath, but after his death the early Christians moved their observance from Saturday to Sunday for two reasons: Sunday was the day Jesus rose from the dead, and it was also the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles gathered in the upper room."

As Seventh-day Adventists we know in reality that the apostles kept the seventh day Sabbath long after His resurrection and the Day of Pentecost. But…


This article got me to thinking. Do we need to reclaim the Sabbath? Some of my earliest and fondest memories were of Sabbath. Friday was indeed a preparation day. We cleaned the house and prepared food. Friday evening we came fresh from our showers ready for sundown worship. The aroma of the meal preparation and songs of Del Delker or the King's Heralds wafted through the house. And we guarded the edges of the Sabbath so as to receive the full 24-hour blessing.

Sue and I introduced our own family to what we called a Super Sabbath—a traditional Friday evening of haystacks, Sabbath breakfast with sweet rolls, and for lunch a special meal using our best china. (Even the dog got a special bone.) The afternoon was spent in some appropriate fun activity. It was a great day of celebration and renewal. It was indeed a delight.

Legalistic Command

So is the Sabbath an arbitrary command of God? When some of the Israelites came out of their tents on Sabbath morning to get some manna and found none it did create a day of unscheduled fasting. Perhaps they thought God was rather legalistic. But in reality He wanted them, along with succeeding generations, to see that He was particular about this sacred day. He cared about not only when but how it was kept.

The Sabbath Keeps Us

And He didn't want His people just to keep the Sabbath. He wanted the Sabbath to keep them—in a sacred relationship with their Creator. So He was understandably particular as will be those who love Him.

Furthermore, He wanted us to know that there are many good things including wholesome family activities, community service projects, even fascinating conversations that may be very appropriate for other days of the week…but not necessarily on Sabbath.

Good Counsel From the Pope

In the same article referenced above, Pope Benedict XVI was quoted: "The men and women in our technical age risk becoming victims of their own intellectual and technical achievements, ending up in spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart." Pretty good counsel, we would have to agree.

Isaiah said it this way. "…If you call the Sabbath a delight…and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord…" Isaiah 58:13,14.

Maybe it is time for all of us to reclaim the true Lord's Day so that we don't end up in "spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart" but rather finding joy in the Lord.

Featured in: November 2008