The Didache 31 – The Lord’s Day

Posted: July 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Didache | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

This series is reflecting on the Didache if you want to read it separately.

But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: “In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.”

A number of things immediately leap out to me here. First, we see confirmed here the very early Christian practice of gathering on the first day of the week (the Lord’s Day) rather than the Sabbath. I also think that some people, raised in the modern Christianized West, have misconceptions over what this meant. In the ancient world, only the Jews kept a “lazy day” (what the Romans called the Sabbath) each week. Many of the early Christians were not just poor, but actually slaves. And most were not Jewish. They had no option for a leisurely “lazy day” of rest. So gathering for the Lord’s Day meant they rose from sleep in the pre-dawn hours, gathered for worship, and then left for a full day’s labor. Maybe keep that in mind when you gather tomorrow? 😉

The center of the gathering was the eucharist (thanksgiving) in which the bread was broken. It was done after confession as was discussed earlier in the Teaching and was considered in some way also a sacrifice that could be pure or could be profaned. The charge to reconcile with others echoes the Sermon on the Mount once again.

So. Gather on the Lord’s Day. Confess your sins. Partake in the sacrifice of the Eucharist, in the breaking of the bread in thanksgiving. Those are the instructions we see here.


5 Comments on “The Didache 31 – The Lord’s Day”

  1. 1 mike said at 9:29 pm on July 11th, 2009:

    ….your teaching is leading me away from what i’ve been taught from my youth..not that thats a bad thing.. but it’s disturbing.. that i have believed in error

  2. 2 mike said at 9:31 pm on July 11th, 2009:

    …correctio: MAY have believed in error

  3. 3 Scott said at 12:40 am on July 12th, 2009:

    I wasn’t aware I wrote anything even vaguely controversial on this part of the Teaching. Well, some people may not have enough of a solid historical picture of the first few centuries to realize that gentile Christians didn’t get any day of rest and even the earliest Jewish believers, who were allowed to observe their religion because of the Jewish leader who had come to aid Rome in a battle at some point in the past, would have observed the Sabbath on the 7th day and then gathered on the first day (the Lord’s Day) before heading out to their labors. It wasn’t until Christianity became a legal religion that the practice of observing the Lord’s Day as a day of rest really became possible. The Sabbath rhythm of rest is a good one for a host of different reasons. I would not argue that we don’t need it. I was just pointing out the realities of life in those early centuries.

    But other than that, I had thought this post was just affirming that the Christian rhythms of worship really are very early indeed.

  4. 4 mike said at 8:39 pm on July 12th, 2009:

    …. ” some people may not have enough of a solid historical picture of the first few centuries” ……..i”ll raise my virtual hand to that …

  5. 5 Baptists, Eucharist, and History - Series Intro said at 5:31 am on July 15th, 2009:

    […] the series I recently completed on the Didache, you might want to read post 31, post 25, post 26, and post 27. I don’t plan to revisit the Didache in this series since I […]