THE NEWSDAY recently carried a well-written article by Terrence Honore entitled “Let’s keep Sunday sacred.” Although the article displayed literary excellence, there are some aspects of it that troubled me and caused concern.
Let me begin with the title – “Let’s keep Sunday sacred.” In the article the writer uses the phrases “the sacredness of Sunday” and “the sanctity of Sunday” and the clause “that hold this day to be sacrosanct.” The word “sacrosanct” means “extremely sacred.”
To keep something in a certain condition it first must be in that state. For instance, I can’t give you a pot of cold water and ask you to keep it hot. The water must first be hot for it to be kept hot. However, I could ask you to heat the water and keep it hot.
For a day to be kept sacred, it must first be a sacred day. The only being who could make a day sacred or holy is the one who created the day. No human being, no religious leader – pundit, imam, pastor, priest, bishop, archbishop or pope – could do this; neither could any religious organisation.
Since the Bible is the guide document of the Christian world, it must be the source from which Christians get their insight as to whether God ever declared a day sacred or holy, and if He did, which is the day so designated.
The Bible tells us in the first and second chapters of Genesis about the creation of the days by the Creator God. In Genesis 2:1-3 we read, “(1) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (2) And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made and rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. (3) And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.”
The words “blessed” and “sanctified” message that the seventh day of the week was made sacred or holy. In addition to this, Exodus 20:11 says, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Moreover, in Isaiah 58:13 God calls the Sabbath the seventh day of the week, His holy day. The verse says in part, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day…” God plainly states that the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, is His holy day.
So there is a day that God declared holy or sacred; that day we could keep holy or sacred. Is there another day of the week that God declared holy? Did God establish Sunday as a holy day? Our answer must come from the Bible if we are Christians. We could search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation for proof that God made and declared Sunday sacred or holy, and our searching would always be an exercise in futility.
In his article Honore states: “Historically, the practice of reserving a day for rest was the best thing for a nation. It was biblical in intent.” This is so very true. God made us, and He knows how He made us, and so from the beginning He gave the human family what was best for us – six working days followed by a day of rest.
Just as car manufacturers give specifications for the proper functioning of their products, so the Creator of the human family gave specifications for the well-being of mankind. The weekly day of rest is one of the divine specifications. God did not leave it up to us to choose a day. His infinite wisdom, His omniscience led Him to declare as recorded in Exodus 20:9, 10, “(9) Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work. (10) But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” He repeats it in Exodus 23:12, “Six days thou shalt labour do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest.”
Honore also states that Sunday is “the only day we have for rest.” This is not what the Bible teaches. According to the Bible, which Christians recognise as the Word of God, Sunday the first day of the week is an ordinary work day. Exodus 31:15 mirrors the already mentioned Exodus 23:12 when it says, “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest…” The only day designated a rest day by God is the seventh day of the week.
It would be prudent for Christians to follow the pronouncements, the authoritative statements from God as documented in the Holy Bible. I also think it would be highly instructive for Christians to try to discover the origin of the idea of Sunday sacredness.
Cedric James is a Trinidadian (formerly of Maracas Valley) living in London