By Leonard Lauriault
Well, we just finished Memorial Day weekend, which was initiated in the 1880s as Decoration Day to remember the fallen in the Civil War. Since then, its name has been changed and, while the focus is still to be on those who gave their lives in war to protect the United States of America, it’s been expanded to remember anyone who’s passed away.
Anyway, that’s not the focus of this article, but I’ll probably write one article about that sometime. I also could write about how Christians are to remember Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice so we could be united with God (1 Timothy 2:5-6; John 17:20-23; Romans 6:3-5; Ephesians 2:11-18; 4:1-6). And, I could write about how when we’re united with Christ, our name is changed to a new name by which we’re known (Isaiah 62:2; 43:15-17; Acts 11:26; Revelation 3:12-13, 5). But, I want to focus this article on the concept of the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday are considered the weekend, although this past holiday weekend included Monday. So, Sunday fell in the middle of the weekend. I can’t remember why, but that made me start thinking about Sunday’s overall position in the week.
Usually “end” denotes “final,” and that fits for Saturday, the seventh and last day of the week. But Sunday is the first day of the week – the week beginning – rather than the weekend.
Different religious connotations are attached to the first and last days of the week. In the Old Testament (under the old covenant), God set aside the last day of the week as a Sabbath, a day of rest; but, work was to be done on the first six days of the week (Genesis 2:1-2; Exodus 20:8-11).
Now, Christians are to assemble to worship God corporately on the first day of the week to hear the Apostle’s doctrine, give of our means to support the work of the church and help those in need, participate in the Lord’s Supper, and share in prayer (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). There’s no command or example about first century Christians resting on that day. In fact, so far as we know, Gentile Christians may not have had a formalized day of rest and the Jewish Christians continued to work on Sunday and rest on Saturday as a matter of custom. All Christians, Jew and Gentile alike, were directed to not judge others as to whether or not they rested on Saturday (Colossians 2:8-17).
That being said, Sunday is the week beginning – the first day of the week, the first fruits of our time, the beginning of our opportunity to make a living and worship God through all aspects of our lives demonstrating how attractive the Christian life is (Exodus 23:19; Titus 2:9-14). If we give ourselves to the Lord first and always in our daily lives, beginning with Sunday, but not stopping there, we’ll participate in accomplishing great things for him (2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Colossians 3:22-24; Ephesians 3:20-21).
Where do you start your week (Hebrews 10:19-26)?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org