Thursday, August 15, 2002

It's too HOT

Yesterday the temperature here in New Hampshire reached 98° F. New Hampshire! I was expecting snow by now.

Flashback to November, 2001:
Naïve Homebuyer moving from Southern Virginia: We like this house, but it doesn’t have air conditioning.

Real Estate Agent: (Condescendingly) You don’t need air conditioning in New Hampshire!
Anyway, that is my excuse for not writing on anything profound today. The heat, compounded by the fact that our study (well, the room with the computers) is the hottest place in the house.

I know, I shouldn’t complain. As I quoted (from memory, so quite unreliable) Mark Twain to my wife the other day: “Don’t tell people your problems; half of them won’t care and the other half will think you deserve them!”

The Lord’s Day

A long, long time ago I had a discussion with Jeffrey Collins (who obviously should still be in our prayers) about The Lord’s Day. At some point the fact that the Sabbath was “moved” from the seventh day to the first day was brought up. I remember stating that I thought what we called the first or seventh day was arbitrary.

What has been working in the recesses of my mind is the admission that I was inexcusably ignorant about how the change occurred. Or, more accurately, how a “new day” (the Lord’s Day) came to replace the Sabbath.

Apparently, both days were “holy” in the apostolic period. Paul preached in the synagogues on the Sabbath, but the early Gentile Christians worshiped on the first day, The Lord’s Day:
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. (Acts 20:7, NIV).
There is also an indication that Paul was defending this shift (and therby providing apostolic sanction) when he wrote:
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. (Col. 2:16, NIV)

In 321 A.D. Constantine issued an edict recognizing The Lord’s Day as the one sacred to Christians (and instituted the long forgotten “blue laws” prohibiting commerce on the first day.) This was reinforced by both the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) and the Council of Laodicea (364 A.D.)


I once had an elder at a Presbyterian church who sort of melded the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day: he took his day of rest to extend for the 24 hours from sunset on Saturday to sunset on Sunday. What do you think of this? I always held the cynical view that he wanted to go for ice cream after the Sunday evening service, but didn’t think that was an appropriate Lord’s Day activity. His modified definition gave him that flexibility.

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