Previously, I summarized how Christians began to meet on Sunday, rather than on the Sabbath (Saturday) as had been the custom of Jesus and His disciples. Today I want to address the question of which day Christians should meet to worship God, and tomorrow, whether or not Christians should observe the Sabbath.
So what is the biblical day for Christians to gather and worship? The answer is that there isn’t one. There is no set day for Christians to gather together to worship God. There are three reasons for this.
Every Day is the Same
Although many Christians believe that Sunday morning is the “set time” for Christian worship, this cannot be defended from Scripture. Sunday morning is simply a tradition. It is not a command. Some in the early church were arguing about the proper day to gather, and Paul responded by saying, “let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or… Sabbaths” (Col 2:16).
In Christ, every day is the same. In Christ, it does no matter if one group wants to meet on Sunday morning at 11:00 am, and a different group decides to meet on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM. Both are acceptable.
People are the Church
Of course, the act of meeting together with other Christians is not itself “church.” It is commonly heard in books, and on blogs, and even from pulpits nowadays that one does not “go to church.” Church does not occur just because a group of people who follow Jesus meet on a certain day, at a certain time, in a certain building. That can be part of church, but it is not the sum total of church.
Church is not a place, a building, or an event. Church is the people of God who follow Jesus into the world. Part of following Jesus into the world will include meeting together with other believers for encouragement and edification, but this gathering is not the sum total of church. Church consists of the people of God, whether they are gathered together or not.
Worship is a Way of Life
Related to the previous two points, worship is not something that only takes place when believers are gathered, prayers and said, sermons are heard, and songs are sung. Worship is an all-encompassing way of life. You can worship God individually, on your own, or in groups. You can worship God in nature, or in a bar. You can worship God on your couch while watching TV, at your desk at work, or at your table eating a meal with your family. You can worship God when you are reading the Bible, or when you are reading TIME magazine. Worship is a way of living that invites God into everything you think, say, and do.
So when the previous three points are understood, it becomes obvious that the question “On Which Day Should Christians Worship God?” is a nonsense question, and actually betrays numerous misunderstandings about church and about worship.
But if the question really must be answered, here it is: We should worship God every day, everywhere, in every way.
That won’t satisfy the religious person who really wants an answer so they can know whether or not they are fulfilling their religious obligations (I had a woman tell me than once), but… such is the life of grace.
This post is based on the Grace Commentary for Luke 6:6-11.