On Which Day Should Christians Worship?

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Previously, I summarized how Christians began to meet on Sunday, rather than on the Sabbath (Saturday) as had been the custom of Jesus and His disciples. Today I want to address the question of which day Christians should meet to worship God, and tomorrow, whether or not Christians should observe the Sabbath.

So what is the biblical day for Christians to gather and worship? The answer is that there isn’t one. There is no set day for Christians to gather together to worship God. There are three reasons for this.

Every Day is the Same

Although many Christians believe that Sunday morning is the “set time” for Christian worship, this cannot be defended from Scripture. Sunday morning is simply a tradition. It is not a command. Some in the early church were arguing about the proper day to gather, and Paul responded by saying, “let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or… Sabbaths” (Col 2:16).

In Christ, every day is the same. In Christ, it does no matter if one group wants to meet on Sunday morning at 11:00 am, and a different group decides to meet on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM. Both are acceptable.

People are the Church

Of course, the act of meeting together with other Christians is not itself “church.” It is commonly heard in books, and on blogs, and even from pulpits nowadays that one does not “go to church.” Church does not occur just because a group of people who follow Jesus meet on a certain day, at a certain time, in a certain building. That can be part of church, but it is not the sum total of church.

Church is not a place, a building, or an event. Church is the people of God who follow Jesus into the world. Part of following Jesus into the world will include meeting together with other believers for encouragement and edification, but this gathering is not the sum total of church. Church consists of the people of God, whether they are gathered together or not.

Worship is a Way of Life

Related to the previous two points, worship is not something that only takes place when believers are gathered, prayers and said, sermons are heard, and songs are sung. Worship is an all-encompassing way of life. You can worship God individually, on your own, or in groups. You can worship God in nature, or in a bar. You can worship God on your couch while watching TV, at your desk at work, or at your table eating a meal with your family.  You can worship God when you are reading the Bible, or when you are reading TIME magazine. Worship is a way of living that invites God into everything you think, say, and do.

Is this really worship?

Summary

So when the previous three points are understood, it becomes obvious that the question “On Which Day Should Christians Worship God?” is a nonsense question, and actually betrays numerous misunderstandings about church and about worship.

But if the question really must be answered, here it is: We should worship God every day, everywhere, in every way.

That won’t satisfy the religious person who really wants an answer so they can know whether or not they are fulfilling their religious obligations (I had a woman tell me than once), but… such is the life of grace.

This post is based on the Grace Commentary for Luke 6:6-11.


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Comments

  1. says

    So true.

    If we pray as Jesus taught us, “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we will be worshipping all. the. time. Worship is non-stop in heaven.

    Although, I have tried to make a practice from unplugging from social media and internet on Sundays so that I can spend at least one day completely focussed on my family and not on managing my social media accounts and/or working (I work remotely and my work is constantly on-going).

  2. says

    We see this in much the same way.

    We do need others who love us, support us and believe in us. I want to gather with those people from time to time. I don’t need more religion, but I do need more time with people who care about me.

    Worship is believing what Jesus says and living that way. How we love and treat other people is how we are loving Jesus.

  3. says

    Jerry, excuse me for taking up too much space here. I cut and paste my article I’m going to publish at Faithwriters and Faithreaders today or tomorrow.
    Sabbath AND Sunday

    On which day of the week should we celebrate our weekly holiday?

    According to the Old Testament, God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and, through him, to the Hebrews. God commanded the Hebrews to work six days and to rest from labor on the seventh day. The Hebrew word ‘sabbath’ is a noun that derives from the verb ‘sabath’ meaning ‘to rest from labor’. It is not known on what calendar day God gave the Hebrews His Commandments and what calendar day was the first working day for them. It was just a day, nothing more. We may as well call Sabbath day the seventh day or the day of rest. If we asked the question: ’What day is our Sabbath day?’, we could as well ask: ’What day is our day of rest?’. In both cases, we can answer: ’That is the seventh day.’
    On this analogy, we can call any day our seventh day. The point is that the seventh day has to be preceded by six working days. If we give each day of the week a name and we call the seventh day Sunday, this may seem appropriate. God gave the Hebrews the Commandment of keeping the seventh day (day of rest) holy. The Hebrew word sabbath has an exact meaning: ‘day of rest’. Accordingly, we could as well call our Sunday ‘Restday’.
    Bearing this in mind, any consideration about what day should be our Restday seems pointless, since we already have the answer: ‘Our Restday.’

    In terms of meaning and origin, our Saturday and the Sabbath day have nothing in common. For both Hebrews and Christians, Saturday is the seventh day. For Hebrews, it is a holiday, for Christians, it is not. Most Christians hold that the resurrection of Jesus took place on the first day of the week; therefore they regard Sunday as the first day of the week. In Central and Eastern Europe, in the Slav countries, Monday is regarded as the first day of the week (ponyidielnyik). In Hungarian, Monday is also the first day of the week – hétfő (meaning: the head /beginning/ of the week). Thus, celebrating Easter Monday in Slav countries and in Hungary is understandable. However, it cannot be clearly seen why do those Christian countries celebrate Easter Monday as the day of Jesus’s resurrection, which regard Sunday as being the first day of the week, while, according to their belief, Jesus’s resurrection took place on Sunday. This does not seem logical.
    Considering that Jesus rose from the dead at about 6.00 pm on the Friday, as I expounded in my former essay entitled ‘How Could Jesus Spend Three Days and Three Nights in the Tomb?’, which is of course not an absolute yardstick, we can conclude that the day of Jesus’s resurrection has nothing to do with any known way of counting weekdays and holidays.

    What God commanded for the Hebrews concerning keeping the Sabbath holy has been kept by them until now. Christians hold the view that in the New Testament Jesus abolished the Ten Commandments and replaced them with two main commandments (John 13:34). Some claim that Jesus, speaking of His being also the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28), meant that Christians had to continue to celebrate the Sabbath. It is rather difficult to share this view.
    The two main commandments Jesus gave in John 13:34 seem to be complemented by Acts 15:20 (‘But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.’). Hebrews 4:1-11 makes mention of the seventh day and God’s rest but this seems to be related to God’s six days of creative work and not to keeping the weekly holiday.

    In light of the above and in particular of the fact that Jesus actually rose from the dead on the Friday (! – see my Essay entitled ‘How Could Jesus Spend Three Days and Three Nights in the Tomb), I might well conclude that Hebrews should keep their Sabbath and Christians should keep their Sunday holy. Of course, Christians being convinced that they should follow the Ten Commandments God gave, together with the Two Commandments Jesus gave, may keep the Sabbath on Saturday if they wish. They may try to persuade other Christians that their way of keeping the Sabbath should be followed. For my part, as a Christian, I do not think that I should follow such Commandments of the Old Testament that were abolished by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. From another point of view, Christians still keep the Commandment regarding the seventh day anyway – they just call that day Sunday instead of Sabbath or Saturday. However, I don’t think that Christians should keep any day of the week holy. They should keep their Lord holy who is also the Lord of the Sabbath or Restday.

    Thus, in my view, instead of saying: ‘Sabbath OR Sunday’ we should rather say: ‘Sabbath AND Sunday’.

    By Sandor Balog

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