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Πέμπτη, 26 Ιουλίου 2018

Keeping the Sabbath The Orthodox practice of keeping the Sabbath on Sunday.


Although early Christians inherited a sabbath practice from the Mosaic Law of remembering the sabbath day on Saturday, the position of both the Eastern and Western Churches came to observe the Lord's Day as Sunday. Thus supplanting the Sabbath commandment of the Jews, they chose to celebrate the Christian community's deliverance from captivity to sin, Satan, and worldly passions, made possible by the resurrection on the first day of the week. Early Christians observed the seventh day Sabbath with prayer and rest, but they also gathered on the first day. By the 4th century, the Church was officially observing the first day, Sunday, as their day of rest, not the seventh.

As Christians, our main concern must be to journey toward God, without whom we can find no rest. The Old Testament Sabbath was the image of God's resting after His creation of the world, and God's image of His internal divine life. The day of rest was meant to encourage the higher spiritual, contemplative life of man, which the Sabbath rest summons us to. The Lord's day for we Christians is Sunday, our day of prayer, learning God's Word, and Communing in the Eucharistic banquet, as well as a day for good and charitable deeds.

We must each take part in the life of the Church, for each person is social, and our participation in the life of other persons is familial, and communal. Common prayer in church makes individual prayer easier when alone because the Holy Spirit and the unison prayers of other people intensify the power of individual prayer in church. According to the teaching of the Church, the prayers of the angels and the saints are joined to the prayers of the faithful standing in church. One hymn of the Church speaks of this: Now the powers of heaven invisibly serve with us.

The true understanding of the gathering on Sunday for worship is based on the Resurrection, the Eucharist, and the theology of the eschatological Eighth Day. Since the Church has always understood Sunday as the day of Resurrection, the significance of gathering on this day was to commemorate and confess the Resurrection of Christ. The foremost sign of our undivided love for God and our fellow man is thus our Sabbath participation in the Eucharist, in the Holy Mysteries, which grants us the strength to do good.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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