Our spiritual forebears saw the day of worship as a great market day for the soul where we taste the spiritual delicacies of God’s Word. On the first day of the week, we take in the sweetness and strength of the friendship of God’s people. Resting from the cares of the workaday world we are renewed as we sing his praise and pray with his people. This world holds out big promises to those who will follow in its ways. But the husks of this world never satisfy.
Five thousand to upward of fifteen to eighteen thousand gather to enjoy market festivities each Saturday in the center of the city where I live. Fresh produce, fabulous meat, home-spun leather backpacks, and delicious kombucha are among the items which line the streets for would-be buyers along with their many furry friends. The tastings, browsing, chatting all make the market great fun. A market friend recently described her day atthe market as a “delight.”
God invites us to find our joy in him. The prophet Isaiah (58) knew that the cure for the “gloom” of the people who lived in “scorched places” is tethered to their finding their pleasure in their relationship with God. That we may know him and enjoy him, God has given us a special weekly gift, the Lord’s Day. Isaiah calls the people to rejoice in the Sabbath Day, to call it a delight (58:13).
This day is set aside from ordinary work for worship, rest,and service to others. This weekly pattern of work six days a week and rest on a seventh goes back to creation when God Almighty “rested” on the seventh day. God gave his good instruction to Moses, and all who call upon him, to remember the Sabbath Day. For many years this day of worship, rest and mercy ministry was on Saturday, the last day of the week.
When Jesus who is Lord of the Sabbath arose from the grave on the day following the Sabbath, the day of worship changed from the last day of the week to the first one. On the day of Resurrection, Sunday, we begin our week resting and remembering Jesus’ resurrection.