Covid-19 Devotionals

The Sabbath

There have been so many burglaries and attempted burglaries in our area and in our street recently. In our street there were two break-ins and one attempted break-in on the same day with another gruesome break-in earlier the morning where a domestic worker was killed and the house owner was shot in the head. He was airlifted to hospital via a helicopter. I have not heard whether he survived the incident, as bullet pierced his skull above the ear.

As our street is rather short with about ten houses on either side, a street meeting is being organized. The organizer suggested Saturday at 3pm and another person requested Sunday at 5pm. I cannot meet on a Sunday at that time because we have a house gathering at 6pm on Sunday Nights and I need to ready myself for that gathering.

A street meeting is important. We have had a few impromptu meetings already, but all the owners need to make suggestions and decisions because whatever we do will require either time or money commitments from everyone.

Many years back, before we lived here, they had a security guard at night but this faded because people withdrew their finances and the guard could not be afforded. So, whatever meeting is had requires everyone’s presence because a few cannot decide that everyone pays, say, R300 per month. A few cannot decide that every man does patrolling when some of the men are not present. If the meeting is held on a Sunday and I am not there, I cannot be held accountable for decisions made without my input.

There is another issue here though, from before COVID and for as long as we have lived in this street. Not everyone goes to church on a Sunday. Only a few do. So, because the majority might have meetings and events and visits on a Saturday afternoon, a Sunday is the preferred alternative … even when it comes to “forcing” the few who attend church to participate.

Christians are Christians, not Jewish Christians. I love the way a very good colleague of ours who was a bishop would say … “I was a Zulu, now I am a Christian.” Without losing his Zulu-ness, he lost his Zulu culture that conflicted with his Christianity. In the same way, we who are Gentiles who have come to faith in Jesus Christ, renounce all previous culture that conflicts with Christian and Biblical culture. The reason I say this is because one of the Ten Commandments reads:

Ex 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

With all the changes in the calendar used over the years, we cannot say the Sabbath Day was factually on the “Friday evening to the Saturday Evening” as the Jews prescribe. Nor can we say that the 7th Day in the Creation Sequence of Genesis chapter 2:2-3 referred to the “Friday evening to the Saturday Evening”. We just don’t know because various calendars used by certain nations (that affected the then-known world) changed as to the amount of days and weeks per month. I am also very aware that many who subscribe to the Christian faith will disagree with me about this issue … but we just don’t know!

In Christianity, as the Early Church started to grow, the Christians continued to worship at the synagogue until the Jews became abusive and Paul literally started services next to the synagogue.

Ac 18:7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

From then on, the Christians worshipped on the first day of the week, which according to our calendar is Sunday. Christianity never used the term Sunday because it was a day devoted to the worship of the “sun god”. Worship on the first day of the week is fitting because God rested on the seventh day after Creation and Jesus rose on the first day of the week commencing the New Creation in His blood. Then:

Lk 24:1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Ac 20:7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.

When the apostle John was given “The Revelation”, he tells us:

Rev 1:10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 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.”

Where the Christian day of worship became the first day of the week in honour of the New Creation … it seems as though the term “Lord’s Day” was adopted signifying it was a day that replaced the Sabbath Day. It did not replace the 4th Commandment … the Spirit of God inspired that a new day at the start of a new week become the day of rest and worship to distinguish the Christianity from Judaism … a day devoted to God as King of the Kingdom of Jesus.

So here’s the issue for us believers today. We must not be legalistic with reference to the Lord’s Day (Sunday). It needs to be dedicated as our day of community worship and family fellowship and rest. It must be a day of joy and happiness, not a day of legalistic dos and don’ts. But the paramount concept is that God’s people need to use the Lord’s Day as a time of community gathering for worship as the priority followed by family time and then rest from the normal weekly activities.

Dear God, thank You for the Day You set apart for worship, family and rest. Help us to use it wisely. Amen.

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