Before the pandemic interrupted our lives and changed our patterns of behavior, there were a growing number of statistics that showed the impact of our secular society on religious life and belief. For the first time in 80 years, a Gallup Poll revealed that a majority of Americans (53%) no longer are members of any faith community. And for those who still claim membership in a Church, their commitment to regularly attending worship services is changing. Where it was once expected that a faithful member of the Church would reserve Sunday dedicated as the “Day of the Lord” and commit to worshipping God in Church every Sunday, today many people who consider themselves faithful feel that it is OK and normal to go to church once a month or even less frequently.
The third of the Ten Commandments states, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” In Jewish tradition, respecting and keeping the Sabbath, which is Saturday, holy has always been a central tenant of a godly life. One day out of seven is dedicated to the Lord in a special manner. Of course, every day we should turn to God in prayer and strive to “seek first the kingdom of God.” To help us keep our focus and not give in to the temptations of the world, though, one out of seven days was dedicated in a special way.
The early Church, from the first century, adjusted honoring the Sabbath to Sunday, which is the day of our Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. This “Day of the Lord,” this “Day of Resurrection,” is the day the community of faith gathers together to worship God through the Divine Liturgy and to unite with God in the mystical way of Holy Communion. It is the first day of the week and we begin each week by receiving Christ and being filled with His Presence so that we can be blessed for the remainder of the week!
Distractions, laziness, and nominalism in our faith have led many to simply dismiss this discipline of worshipping God every Sunday as a community. Maybe we also just don’t understand or experience the value of the Divine Liturgy. This decision to not “honor the Sabbath” is another way the devil simply deceives us by anesthetizing us to the value of spiritual disciplines.
Be careful of your spiritual health. Be on guard against spiritual apathy and laziness. Be vigilant and feed your soul every week by “honoring the Sabbath” and uniting to God through the Mystery of the Eucharist, Holy Communion, so that we remain spiritually vigilant and alive!