Do you still get excited for Sunday morning? Do you??! Are you overwhelmed by the thought of millions of Christians all over the world getting together to worship the one resurrected King? Or has your passion grown cold? The fact is, for most, Sunday morning is still “that day!” It’s the day of united worship and of family reunion! Augustine of Hippo wrote in his signature work, City of God, “The Sabbath is brought to a close not by an evening, but by the Lord’s day, as an eighth and eternal day, consecrated by the resurrection of Christ, and also prefiguring the eternal repose not only of the spirit, but also of the body. Then, we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise. This is what shall be in the end without end.” I’d like for you to pause and consider the beauty of Augustine’s Sunday paradigm. Is it not awe inspiring?
We find in the resurrection narratives of all four gospels the phrase “the first day of the week.” 1st century and 2nd century Christians saw Sunday as the beginning of the week yes, but they also saw it as the eighth day. For early believers every Sunday followed the Sunday before, making it a “new beginning,” an “eighth day.” If it’s not obvious, eight is biblical numerology’s number for new beginnings. This is why babies were circumcised and given their names on the eighth day.
Early believers also had this intense connection with the past and a simultaneous expectation of the future. This is not just based on every Sunday being connected to the Sunday prior. Sunday was also the close of the Sabbath. So Sunday was not a day of rest as the Sabbath was, but rather a day of tension and breakthrough. Sunday highlights crucifixion. So it’s a day of mourning. Sunday highlights resurrection, so it’s a day of joy! Marianne H. Micks says “We confused the first day of the week with the Jewish Sabbath and thereby turned to the past instead of to the future. Rightly understood, Sunday is more a day of tension than a day of rest.” On Sunday, in one breath of worship, we wrestle with crucifixion and we wrestle with resurrection.
I consider Augustine and I think, what do we contemporarily say about Sunday beyond, oh please, oh please, oh please come to church. No one knows who, but someone (mainly everybody), said, “Just because you don’t go to church Sunday morning doesn’t mean you forfeit your right of having any help or guidance from God” This is true but numbing to Sunday’s significance. Church leaders say things like Joyce Meyer’s famous quote, “Jesus is interested in a relationship with you, not a 45 minute date every Sunday morning. Make Him first in your life.” Again true, and yet again numbing to Sunday’s significance if taken too far or out of context, which I believe is its normal case.
As I close this thought, I have to ask myself, am I writing this to say, oh please, oh please, oh please come to church? Absolutely not! I’m writing this to bridge the concept of the eighth day to your soul, so that if and when you do show up on a Sunday, you understand what your doing! Augustine called Sunday “The Lord’s Day.” Why? He calls it the Lord’s day because that’s the day our Lord got up, defeated sin, the grave and whooped up on death! Invincible!!! In a sense, Sunday is the only day that Jesus heard an alarm clock. For it is, and will be, the only time where he was dead and now is alive. He resurrected! See, for the world, Easter is a once a year event but for the believer, resurrection happens every Sunday! We celebrate “The Lord’s Day,” The day He got up! We celebrate the Eighth Day, the day of new beginnings. Every week for the believer we are reminded that life begins fresh and new, opportunity begins fresh and new because today, the Eighth Day, Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that we all have resurrection power! We all have been made new! Sunday is a glorious day! Anything less than overwhelmed misses the mark, misses the maker, misses the magnificent mayhem (full praise) we ought to lavish on a God who would resurrect lives!!! My dear friends, remember the 1st Day of the week, the eighth day, the eternal day, and together, lets rest and see, see and love, love and praise!
…And yes, of course, Be A Bridge!
“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.”
Let us, together, celebrate! For every Sunday, after that Sunday, is The Eighth Day. Glory!
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