Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Towards Sunday, September 1, 2013

Scripture:   Mark 16:1-8
Sermon:     Why Sunday?

Sunday is not the sabbath day of rest commanded in Ex 20 and Deut. 5.  The "seventh day" -- the day to rest in God's good creation of all that is, and to remember God frees us of our enslavements -- is Saturday, and well into the fourth century Christians kept the Saturday Sabbath along with our Jewish brothers and sisters.

But Sunday also became a holy day to Christians because it is the day of Jesus's resurrection -- hence their reference to it as "the Lord's Day."  In the Gospel stories (Mk. 16:1-8; Mt. 28:1-10; Lk. 24:1-12, 13-53; John  20:1-23, 26-29) it's Sunday when Jesus's followers see the emptied tomb and the risen Jesus appears among them -- helping them understand the Scriptures, breaking bread with them, speaking peace, and promising them power as witnesses to God's kingdom in the world.  As they start a new week and they prepare to get back to their work-a-day lives, the risen Jesus appears in their gathering to help them see that life and the world are now different, that a new power of life is at work in the world, and that they carry it within them.

Christians continued to gather on Sundays, even though many also continued to keep the Saturday Sabbath.  And because it was not a civic day of rest until 321 C.E. (under the Emperor Constantine), they gathered probably early in the morning before beginning work -- to read Scripture, break bread and give thanks -- all in the expectation that the risen Jesus would be in their midst, giving them what they needed to truly be God's people and the body of Christ in their work and in the world's life in the week ahead.

This Sunday we meet one last time with the folks of Wesley United for shared worship, before getting back to our own buildings and work for the fall.  We'll read Scripture, break bread and give thanks.  And one of the hymns Karen has picked for us is "Jesus, Stand Among Us."

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