This is a series of blog posts by pastor Andrew Vander Maas from Crossroads Presbyterian Fellowship in St. Louis. These posts were first written a few years ago on a blog that no longer exists, and we are resurrecting them at Worship Is Central.
To see the whole series, click on the Lord’s Day category link on the sidebar on this page, which is found here. For more resources on the Lord’s Day (Sunday), see the Lord’s Day page at Worship Is Central.
Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.
As we come back to the matter of the Sabbath another vital piece to consider is the communal nature of the day. From the OT on it was intended that it be a day for the community of God’s people to come together and celebrate their distinctive identity in the Lord, to be fed and nourished by Him, and to in response offer worship to Him.
In the NT you see this pattern continue. Above I have quoted three key passages that serve to remind us of the critical nature that the community of saints plays in the lives of one another, as well as the pattern and instruction to the early church to gather at least 1x/week.
Perhaps this connection seems obvious to you, but let me ask a couple of questions and make an observation or two. What does it mean to come together as a community of believers? Is it simply for an hour or maybe an hour and a half to come and sit in the same room and sing songs together and listen to a minister babble on about something? Unfortunately, I think for many people this is exactly what it means. There is a minimalist commitment to corporateness on the Lord’s Day, and then it is on to my own thing. But does this really capture the spirit of what God intended for this day to be about? It seems to me that if we are going to stir one another up, encourage one another, turn people’s heads with the nature of our fellowship, it is going to take more time and effort than that.
When we start thinking more deeply about the nature of our corporateness we definitely butt up against what needs to be a paradigm shift in our thinking. Our tendency is to work from ourselves out. What needs do we have? How are they being met? etc. The call seems to me to be just the opposite. What are the needs of others? How can my presence in their life address them? I believe that thinking of this latter sort will encourage people to linger over conversation for the sake of another, ask penetrating questions for the sake of another, and in general help us stand against the desire to jet out the door and on to the next thing.
There is much more that could be said here, practicalities of what this might look like, things that really go beyond the scope of a blog article. But this idea of corporateness, community, certainly needs to enter the conversation on the Sabbath. It is not the whole of the conversation, but it is part of it. Feel free to push back or pull further.