February brings to us a number of notable days. There’s Groundhog Day on the 2nd (That critter better not see his shadow!), Valentine’s Day is the 14th, while Presidents Day lands on the on the very next day this year, the 15th. Of religious significance is Ash Wednesday on February 10th, but very likely the most noteworthy day may indeed be February 7th. That is the day that the “Super Bowl” (is it legal for me to put forth that name in this publication or am I subject to censure due to copyright infringement?) is played, which is often labeled “Super Sunday”. Last year the “Big Game” had an average of 114.4 million viewers which made it the most watched program in the history of American television. I guess that qualifies as noteworthy. It wasn’t that long ago that this game was played in January. Up until 1965 the NFL Championship Game was even played in December! With Ash Wednesday coming early this year, on the 10th, it’s a good thing that the Super Bowl game will be the Sunday before. That’s because I typically give up watching football during Lent, so I can do so again this year.
Now I would like to put forth the idea that there not be just one Super Sunday each year, but that every Sunday, all 52 of them, be labeled as such. In the Scripture passage above the Apostle John is describing his experience while in exile on the island of Patmos of receiving “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.” (Rev. 1:1) In it he speaks of “the Lord’s Day”. Just what is “the Lord’s Day”? From the very beginning of the Christian Church, and even before, the pattern of worship shifted from the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) to what was first termed “The Lord’s Day” or Sunday. In the Old Testament tradition Sunday, the first day of the week, had no special significance whatsoever. It was not identified as religiously or socially important in any way.
On the day of the resurrection of Jesus Sunday was elevated to the most significant of all days. In the resurrection of Jesus, and his appearances to his followers Sunday became forever “The Day of the Resurrection”, or, “The Lord’s Day. On that first Easter morning our Lord Jesus appeared in the morning to the faithful women who had come to the tomb. Matthew writes that; ‘Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.’ (28:9) On that Easter Sunday morning we have the first worship service where the risen Christ is present with his people. That afternoon Jesus meets the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and delivers to them the first post-resurrection sermon, and breaks bread with them. That evening He then appears to the 11 chosen and called disciples as they are locked away in the upper room in Jerusalem. From start to finish that Sunday took on the highest meaning for the people of God redeemed in Jesus Christ.
It has been the tradition of the Church from that very day on to set aside Sunday as our Sabbath, and to gather in the presence of the risen Christ for worship. It’s not that we have been commanded to do so, as our freedom in Christ clearly speaks otherwise. (Colossians 2:16-17) “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” It is in the pre-eminent role of the resurrection that we choose to make Sunday our “Lord’s Day” and desire to be physically present with him as well as our brothers and sisters in Christ on that day.
There are roughly 2 billion Christians in the world today, the vast majority who come together for worship each and every Sunday. That’s more than 10 times the viewership of any Super Bowl game. Each Sunday…every Sunday…our Lord Jesus comes to us all in Word and Sacrament to offer his gifts of forgiveness and salvation, eternal life, and to receive our praises and our prayers.