What's Happened to the Lord's Day?
Of the making of special days there is seemingly no end. Men have an apparent inclination to set aside days to honor prominent individuals and to commemorate momentous events, and the result is that there are so many special days that it is a difficult matter to keep track of them all. There is Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, George Washington's birthday, Lincoln's birthday, and the list could go on and on. Yet, despite our penchant for the observance of special days, men have shown an amazing lack of interest in the day that God has set aside in honor of the Lord.
That there is a day especially set aside by deity for the honor of the Lord is clear from John's reference to a day which he designated "the Lord's day" (Rev. 1:10). This could be no other day than the first day of the week, for it was on that day that Christ was resurrected and His church was established, and it is upon that day that Christians are to assemble and remember Him in a special way by partaking of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7). As men are busily setting aside and observing special days, it is appropriate to ask, "What's happened to the Lord's day?"
Of all the special days, none is so important as the Lord's day. This is not to say that other special days are wrong, provided they are kept in proper perspective. For example, it is good, in view of all that our parents have done for us and meant to us to have days in which we remember our mothers and fathers and express our appreciation to them. We must remember, however, the, unlike the Lord's day, such days as these are set aside, not in honor of deity, but of human beings and human events. Their observance is not something that God has demanded as a part of our service to Him. The Lord's day, however, is in honor of deity; its observance is, part of the divinely revealed religion of Christ. Thus, it is a holy day and its importance is paramount.
When people are more diligent about the observance of days which honor human beings and commemorate human events than they are about observing the Lord's day, they clearly reveal that they have a higher regard for these human beings and events than they have for the Lord. There are those, for example, who never fait to send a card to their mothers on Mother's Day, or in some way express their love for their mothers, yet persistently fail to honor the Lord by scriptural observance of the Lord's day. Certainly it is good to use Mother's Day as an occasion to show in a special way the love we have for our mothers; but to be more interested in Mother's Day than in the Lord's day betrays the fact that we love our mothers more than we do the Lord. This does not mean that we love our mothers too much; it means that we love the Lord too little.
Those who are of this disposition need to be reminded of the principle that our Lord enunciated in Matt. 10:37, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." The same principle is taught in Lk. 14:26, where Jesus said that a man must hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothels, and sisters in order to be His disciple. He did not use the word "hate" literally, but as a strong figure of speech, a very forceful and emphatic way of saying that we must love these relatives less than we love the Lord. If our love for the Lord exceeds our love for all mere humans, then we will necessarily be more interested in honoring Him on His day than we are in honoring any human being on that person's special day.
There are those who, even on the rare occasions that they attend church- services on the Lord's day, do so more to honor a human being than to honor Christ. For example, there are some who attend one time a year-on Mother's Day! Whom do you think they are honoring?
In fact, denominational groups sometimes set aside certain Lord's day assemblies for special services designed for the observance of some event other than the Lord's day. For example, the following announcement appeared recently in the newspaper under the title, "Pleasant Valley Homecoming":
Everyone to invited to attend the first Homecoming at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, also known as Back Horn, located near Walcott, Sunday, May 15.
Homecoming, high attendance day and open home for the newly remodeled church will begin at 10 Sunday morning and continue until 3:30 In the afternoon. Former pastors will be attending, the church history will be related, various singing groups will be featured and other activities have been planned for the special observance.
I'm sure a wonderful time was had by all, but does this sound like the primary purpose was to honor the Lord? No, they obviously substituted Homecoming Day for the Lord's day.
As I write these words, Mother's Day has just passed, and I am reminded that some denominational churches design their services on that day so as to honor, not the Lord, but mothers. On Mother's Day they have special Mother's Day services, and on Father's Day they have special Father's Day services. Surely, it is right and scriptural for preachers to teach the truth regarding the responsibilities of mothers and fathers, and regarding the respect and appreciation that children should have for their parents. But to center the activities of the Lord's day assembly around mothers or fathers, so that they are the ones being honored rather than the Lord; is quite another matter. Some also have been known to set aside certain Lord's day assemblies to honor grandmothers and grandfathers. The Lord's day has ceased to be treated as His by these groups. Rather than seeking to honor the Lord, they use His day to honor mere humans.
Another problem is that so many of man's special days come on or near the Lord's day, so that people often use such days as an occasion. to neglect the scriptural observance of the Lord's day. This has become a greater problem as more and more special days have come to be observed on Monday, so that people sometimes get that day as a holiday from their jobs. Thus, having three consecutive days off from work, they are able to travel away from home, and in their recreational pursuits which are occasioned by some special day, they forget the Lord's day. Similarly, there are children who will fail to assemble with saints to honor the Lord on His day, in order that they can assemble with their brothers and sisters to honor their mother or father on bother's Day or Father's Day; and there are mothers and fathers who will fail to assemble for worship on the Lord's day, in order that they can be present on such occasions- thereby choosing to receive honor from their children rather than to give honor to the Lord on His day.
Yes, as men give priority to humanly devised special days, it is with a sense of urgency that we ask, "What's happened to the Lord's day?" It strikes me as noteworthy that as we read in scripture of the various days observed by the devout in Israel, we find little inclination to set aside days in honor of human beings, no matter how great they were. Where, for example, do we read of any celebration of the birthday of Moses or of Abraham? Rather than being preoccupied with setting aside and observing days to honor human beings and human events, they were more concerned with observing the holy days which God had set aside to honor and glorify deity. Modern man would do well to be similarly disposed.
Truth Magazine XXII: 1, pp. 10-11