The Lord’s Day is a Feast Day, never a Fast Day! That has always been Christendom’s creed. Even when long, protracted penitential fasts were the fashion of Medieval Christianity, the Lord’s Day was always excluded from the fast. The Lord’s Day is to be a day of celebration, joy, and fellowship. It is not the day for downcast faces or despair. Any solemnity that marks the day is due to sheer awe for the graciousness of a Holy God of whom “mercy is His proper work.” Any sorrow sown by conviction of sin is wiped away by the forgiveness and cleansing which are ours in Christ. The Lord’s Day is a Feast Day, never a Fast Day!
Our forefathers were apt to call the Lord’s Day, “the Market Day of the Soul.” It was not a day for buying and selling the commodities of temporal life, but a day to traffic in the commerce of higher things, better things – eternal things. While our lives today blur the distinctions between the Lord’s Day and every other day, we are most blessed and at rest when we “remember the Lord’s Day and set it apart.” The Lord’s Day is not like every other day. Quite the contrary it is unlike any other day. When the Lord was creating the world, He rested from His work, not just on the first day after he finished, but He finished by creating the seventh day – actively making it and setting it aside to celebrate, rejoice, and fellowship with His creation.
Thus, the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So, God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:1-2
Is the Lord’s Day a feast day for you? Is it the Market Day of your Soul? Is it unlike any other day? Or has it become like any and every other day to you? Is it distinguished by the pursuit and enjoyment of the things that really matter, that last forever? Or only the pursuit of more of the same things that won’t last. Doubtless, for most of us, the week is the unit of time that most defines our lives, yet it is the only unit of time not defined by some celestial or environmental cycle. It has no exemplar in nature. It is simply given to us by God and delineated for us by the Lord’s Day. Whether you observe it or not, your life revolves around the Lord’s Day.
Growing up, Sundays were always unique. The usual biscuits that adorned every breakfast at our house, were replaced with blueberry muffins. Lunch was a grand affair, usually grilled steaks, baked potato and salad – a meal we never ate except at lunch on Sundays. My father always included me in his duties at the church. Some weeks we drove a church van into downtown Atlanta to pick up a spunky group of elderly ladies. Other weeks, I delivered the Sunday School boxes to each classroom before anyone else arrived. My service made me feel important and useful. After lunch, was “rest time.” We could play quietly at home, but it was not a time for the usual kinds of play with friends and neighbors. And then in the evening we would return to church for choir, and Royal Ambassadors (a Christian boys club), and worship. It was a full day, different from every other day. Full of feasting, fellowship and rest – all centered around worshipping and celebrating who we were in Christ.
When Christians lose delight in enjoying the “thousand sacred sweets” of the Lord’s Day, life begins to lose its savor in every other area as well. Just as the Lord’s Table defines how we live at every other table in our lives, the Lord’s Day defines how we will live every other day. The Lord’s Day with its corporate worship, fellowship, feasting, resting and serving is the heartbeat of the Christian life. It is one of two positive commands in the Ten Commandments. It comes with great promise. Jesus reminds us that “man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man.” The Lord’s Day is a Feast Day and never a Fast Day. It is the Market Day of the Soul.
The prophet Jeremiah took great pains to make clear the deeply ingrained sin in the people of Judah. By the time we get to the end of Jeremiah 17, we have heard the prophet call the people to repentance for their perpetual idolatry, their self-serving greed, their heartless oppression, and their continual refusal to heed the call of God to return. So, it seems a little surprising that Jeremiah makes so much of calling them to repent of contempt for the Lord’s Day . With so many dire issues on the table, is this not a bit of straining a gnat and swallowing a camel? Yet this thinking shows that we have not rightly understood that the Lord’s Day stands at the center of our Christian life.
Join us this Sunday, February 16, as we examine Jeremiah 17:19-27 and consider the the great blessing of remembering the Lord’s Day. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.