As promised, I am finishing up the meaning and redeeming of the days of the week today. I covered “Monday” through “Friday” on last week’s blogs (7/29-8/2) and yesterday (8/7) I covered “Saturday.”
Today, I’m looking at Sunday. The origin of Sunday predates the modern calendar. From ancient times people of all civilizations worshiped the sun as the god of life and light. Since the sun was the greatest and most powerful of the celestial lights, it was also regarded as the greatest deity within ancient cultures (all of which were polytheistic). Worship of the sun was a priority, as the sun was what helped crops grow and provided light in which to work and enjoy life’s activities.
It wasn’t until the time of Abraham and his descendants (the Hebrews/Israelites) that monotheism (one God) was established in the civilized world. As well, it was only in the religion of the Hebrews that the sun was recognized as a part of Creation – and not a god – under the reign of one God (Genesis 1:16).
Our world’s secular view of Sunday has changed little from the days of ancient paganism. Science acknowledges the sun as a most powerful energy source and what sustains life on our planet. People enjoy the sunlight and, on sunny Sundays, we will be drawn to activities in the sun (road trips, picnics, outings on the beach, recreational activities). And while very few people actually worship the sun as a deity, a great many people fail to recognize the One True God as the source of life and light. Too many people believe that life begins when the baby pops out of the womb, that it is sustained by physical nourishment and good health practices, and ceases to exist once the heart and brain stop functioning.
As followers of Jesus Christ we believe otherwise: life begins with God speaking it into existence (Gen 1:1), the source of life is the Word (Christ, John 1:4), all life is sustained by God (Acts 17:28), and life does not end with physical death (John 11:25-26). The cornerstone event which justifies our belief is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Cor 15). Since Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday (John 20:1), Christ followers historically have especially gathered to worshiped him on that day. This is why our Latin brothers and sisters broke off from calling the first day of the week, “Sunday.” Instead they call it “the Lord’s Day” (e.g. “Domingo” in Spanish). So Sunday, for us, is really Son-day; for the Son of God has risen indeed!
As we understand Whole Life Worship, every day is the Lord’s Day. We honor God with our lives every day. But Son-day is special because many of us can gather to worship Him together. There is a sense of unity, camaraderie, inspiration and power when we worship Christ together.
It is so sad, though, to think of how many Christians neglect the corporate worship gathering. Some can only dwell on the negative aspects of church; failing to remember that Jesus died for imperfect people (like others and like themselves) and that we are all a work in progress. Others have believed a lie that they can sustain their Christian spirituality in isolation; without the help or encouragement of others. But the truth of the matter is that God calls us into community, as He is in community through the Trinity. We will die spiritually if we are not connected with the Body of Christ.
In the Whole Life Worship paradigm, Son-day is not a beginning of worship; it is the culmination of a week long lifestyle of worship. We worship as we walk in soundness of mind and heart against the “lunacy” of back-to-work Moon-days. We worship as we are peacemakers on Tiew’s (conflict) day. We worship as we choose to live for God, not money, on Woden’s Day. We worship as we follow Christ’s power of humility and meekness on Thor’s Day. We worship as we choose to love unselfishly on the day of the Sex-goddess (Frejya/Venus). We worship as we choose to Sabbath recalibration on Saturn’s (dissipation, revelry) day. So, as we gather with God’s people on Son-day we have a week’s worth of praises and transformation to celebrate!
If we worship God like that, I can almost hear Him saying: “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”