By Leonard Lauriault
This coming Sunday is June 21st, which all recognize as the first day of summer and a new season giving many the opportunity for new adventures. This year it also is Father’s Day. For my family there’s a lot of other significance attached to the day as well as the date.
Two of my family members, who actually are not related to each other, were born on June 21st a little over 30 years apart. One of those is free to live wherever he wants and do as he pleases. The other currently cannot do that. The older one lives in Alaska where June 21st is celebrated as the longest day of the year in addition to being the beginning of summer (you may remember I used Alaska National Holiday – not officially recognized as a holiday, even by that state – for an article about this time last year on a different topic). After June 21st, the days start getting shorter everywhere north of the equator. In Alaska, they’ll have very little sunlight throughout the winter, which I understand can become quite depressing.
Even more important than this Sunday being the first day of summer or Father’s Day or Alaska National Holiday or lots of people’s birthday, it’s Sunday – the first day of the week. It was on a Sunday that Jesus came forth from the grave having paid the debt for our sins freeing us from their eternal consequences (Matthew 28: 1-6; Romans 6: 23; 3: 23; Hebrews 2: 14, 15; 1 Peter 1: 24). Because of his victory over death, Christians – those who have died to their sins – are free from fear of physical death because we recognize that our physical death is merely the transition. We’ll live in God’s presence instead of on earth where the days are not long enough, or too long, or there are other restrictions on us (Romans 6: 3-11; Philippians 1: 21-23; Revelation 21: 22-27; 22: 14, 15).
As we’ve done since the church began, Christians remember Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection every time someone joins our family (Galatians 2: 19-3: 1: 5: 24; 3: 26-4: 7) as well as on every Sunday by participating in the Lord’s Supper (Communion – 1 Corinthians 11: 17-26). Note that they had the Lord’s Supper when they came together as a church. Acts 20: 6, 7 says that they came to together to break bread (another name for Communion) on the first day of the week – Sunday. Note also that although Paul was hurrying to Jerusalem (Acts 20: 18), he stayed a whole week in Troy likely just to meet with the church when they celebrated the Lord’s Supper. If it’s OK to celebrate Communion on another day, would he have waited a week when he was in a hurry? [This wouldn’t invalidate meeting at other times for encouragement and learning, or even for a baptism (Hebrews 3: 12-14; 10: 23-25; Acts 2: 41, 47), but it sure looks like there’s a first day of the week limitation on Communion. Doesn’t this also show where our commitment is to be?] According to Corinthians 16: 1, 2 and 4: 17 meeting every Sunday was the pattern among the churches.
Christians around the world still do this today as we have opportunity. Some have the freedom to openly practice Christianity, but even in the darker regions, whenever two or three can gather together on Sunday, Jesus also is there and they form a church that’s to remember his sacrifice until he comes again (Matthew 18: 20; Hebrews 9: 27, 28). As they meet on different continents and different time zones, but always on the first day of the week, they form the body of Christ being blood-related to each other through him although they may never meet this side of heaven (John 17: 20-23).
Will you be a part of a church this Sunday, June 21st, that celebrates the Lord’s Supper according to the New Testament pattern? If not, now’s the best time to begin a new season of adventure as a member of God’s family having died to sin and arisen to a new life that looks forward to Jesus’ glorious appearing (2 Corinthians 6: 2; 2 Timothy 4: 6-8; 1 Timothy 6: 14). That outlook gives a great amount of hope that helps overcome the depressing nature of this dark world (Romans 5: 1-5; 1 John 5: 1-5; 3: