It seems significant that this week’s focus on Sunday follows on from last month’s series on Soul Care. The rhythm of one day of rest in seven is as old as creation itself, and increasingly being rediscovered as important for our soul’s well being. But what’s so special about Sundays?
Words for the Week
On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight.
On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Sundays to remember
My earliest memories of Sundays are of it being a ‘different’ kind of day. As I grew older, I learned to particularly appreciate the Sunday morning service where we would ‘remember Jesus’, his death and resurrection and share communion together. It’s easy for me to take my faith for granted – of course I believe. So it’s important to be reminded each week of Christ’s unutterable holiness and greatness in the light of my smallness and brokenness, and receive his love, mercy, grace and healing. And I can’t then help but respond in worship.
Sundays to gather
While it’s possible to worship by ourselves, we are urged in Hebrews 10:25 to ‘not give up meeting together’. We only build community by actually showing up! And the corporate experience of worship brings something different than our individual times with God:
‘A quickening Presence pervades us, breaking down some part of the special privacy and isolation of our individual lives and blending our spirits within a superindividual Life and Power. An objective, dynamic Presence enfolds us all, nourishes our souls, speaks glad unutterable comfort with us and quickens us in the depths that had before been slumbering’
Thomas Kelly, the Eternal Promise
Sundays to stop
As Christianity developed, Sundays replaced the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday as a day of rest. For today’s Christians however, Sunday can be the busiest day of the week and the idea of Sabbath seems out of reach. Yet taking a day to stop, rest and focus on Jesus reminds us that our world does not depend on our frenetic activity. We recognise that all we are and have comes from him. Once again we are drawn to the God who chooses to use us in his Kingdom. And then rested and renewed with that sense of purpose, we can begin the rest of the week with an awareness of Jesus as Lord of our everyday, not just our Sundays.
There is a freedom that comes from being who we are in God and resting in God that eventually enables us to bring something truer to the world than all of our doing.
Ruth Hayley Barton, Sacred Rhythms
Own it personally…
- What does the phrase ‘remember Jesus’ make you think? Spend some time meditating on what Jesus did for you through his death and resurrection. How can you build this awareness into your Sundays?
- In a large church like Woodies, it can be difficult to create a sense of ‘community’ at Sunday services. But it’s up to us to make it happen. Why not speak to someone you don’t know next Sunday, or invite a newcomer for a meal?
- How do you make Sunday different from other days of the week? If you don’t already, try a month of keeping your email or TV switched off on a Sunday and see if it makes a difference. Read the following blog for some ideas to make Sunday truly a day of Sabbath
Speak it Out – Pray and Prophesy
A prayer for Sundays:
Who adores us
of the far lands
Fill us with the freedom
Of Your blistering heart
and make us dangerous for You,
the narrow and the drab.
In undiscovered galaxies
Make us wild and tender for You,
eager with love
Your pearl earth.
From Still, Facing Autumn by Stewart Henderson