Friday, July 21, 2006

Working for the Weekend

Remember when you were in elementary school and you heard the teacher say something like, "Class, today is the first day of the Chinese New Year"? I remember thinking, "Umm, it's April.... Those Chinese sure are behind!"

The Chinese, I eventually realized, have a different culture than we do, and so their calendar was different.

And so it is with the Christian Church. What the world calls the last day of the weekend we call "the first day of the week" (Matthew 28:1). We structure our lives according to a Sabbatical pattern, as have God's people for thousands of years. The difference between Israel's Sabbath and the Church's, however, is that they worked all week in order to enter God's rest, while we participate in the rest of Jesus Christ before any work has been done by us at all.

Rather than seeing Sunday as "Saturday Part II," shouldn't we take it as an opportunity to protest the consumerism and Market-driven nature of the kingdom of man by refusing to participate in the frantic hustle and bustle that characterizes every other day of the week? After all, faithful attendance upon the means of grace week by week will do more to display to our children, friends, and neighbors the distinctive and countercultural nature of the Christian faith than a T-shirt that says "This Blood's For You" or a bumper sticker that reads "Got Jesus?"

And conversely, bumping into your neighbor at Costco on a Sunday afternoon subtly says to him, "Hey, we're not that different after all."

But then, our zeal to win the lost by "becoming all things to all men" may mean that the message that we're not that different is precisely what we want to communicate to the watching world.