Why You Should Gather with the Church the Sunday after Easter

“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together” (Acts 20:7, ESV).

Easter Sunday is the day when Christians throughout the world focused particular attention on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s also a Sunday when many people who don’t regularly attend a church service show up. Consequently, churches invest a lot of time, money, and resources to make Easter Sunday a special time for visitors. But what happens the Sunday after Easter? And the Sunday after that? This coming Sunday?!

If the statistics are accurate, the Sunday after Easter is usually a day of low attendance in churches. Clearly, there is a disconnect between what going to church means and who Jesus is. When we understand who Jesus is and what the resurrection means, then the Sunday after Easter should be no different than Easter Sunday or any other Sunday of the year. In fact, I would argue that for the Christian, every Sunday is Easter Sunday.

The reason I say that every Sunday is Easter Sunday is that from its beginnings the church gathered on the first day of the week, Sunday, to remember Jesus’ resurrection. Consider the historical record as laid out by Richard Bauckham (see R. J. Bauckham, “Lord’s Day”, in From Sabbath to Lord’s Day, ed. D. A. Carson, pages 221-250). Bauckham’s arguments are carefully made and humbly presented. At the risk of oversimplification, I want to summarize them in three points:

1. The early church met on the Lord’s Day to commemorate Jesus’ Resurrection (Bauckham, 232-245): All four gospels emphasize Jesus’ resurrection on the first day of the week. Though it cannot be proven that this was the reason established for Sunday worship, early Christians did connect gathering on the first day of the week with the Lord’s resurrection (Bauckham, 236, 240).  Early church history attests to this fact as well (see Didache, Justin Martyr’s, First Apology, chapter 67).

2. By the end of the first century, “Lord’s Day” is seen to be a technical term already in use in reference to the first day of the week/Sunday, the Christian gathering day (Revelation 1:10; see Bauckham, “Lord’s Day,” 222-232).

3. By the middle of the second century, Lord’s Day worship gatherings are the universal practice of the church (Bauckham, “Lord’s Day,” 230).

From such evidence, I have come to the conclusion that the Lord’s Day is the chosen gathering day for distinctly Christian worship because it was the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Therefore, every Sunday the church gathers, it remembers and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. In other words, for Christians who understand who Jesus is and what the resurrection means, every Sunday is Easter Sunday! That means we should gather every Sunday to remember and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

So join us this resurrection Sunday as we confess together that Jesus Christ is risen and has been granted all authority in heaven and on earth. Join us as we humbly submit to His authoritative Word. Join us as we hear the testimony of God’s grace this Sunday. Join us as we encourage one another with the good news that Jesus is alive and present with us until He comes again.

But make plans now to join us the following Sunday, and every Sunday after that. Join us on the mission to tell others that Jesus is alive, for He is risen. Join us as together we await Jesus’ return to consummate the kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace that He promised. Join us every Sunday, each Lord’s Day, as we celebrate Easter all over again!

Love,

Pastor Juan

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