The Sabbath rest is ancient. God himself rested on the seventh day, just after he created the world in six days. When God gave his law to his people the command to rest on the seventh day made the top ten. God knew that working without rest would damage his creatures. So he built it in — rest every night and the seventh day. It provided time for his people to worship and to meditate on his word.
Yet for Christians the day they worship — and rest — is a matter of freedom. It belongs to the civil law, the law for the nation of Israel. It is not a part of the moral law, the law for all people. We know this because Jesus called himself “the Lord of the Sabbath” and St. Paul describes that freedom in Romans and Colossians. Still the church chose from the beginning to rest every Sunday, the first day of the week, to remember the Resurrection of Jesus.
While Christians should worship God every and any day, resting on Sunday brings with it the opportunity to hear God’s word preached, to receive his gifts of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to meet with each other and pray for each other and to study the Word of God. It not so much that we have to go to church than that we get to go to church. At many times and in many places that freedom does not exist.
So we honor Sundays and Holy Days. We use the opportunity to receive the forgiveness of sins and bread for our daily lives. We rejoice to honor our Lord Jesus, who died for us, rested in the tomb three days and rose again, so that we might rest with him forever.
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