Question and Answer

Evening Worship Service

Question:

I recently read your article "The Evening Worship Service" in the October, 1997 issue (Volume 6, Number 4) of Ordained Servant.

I especially appreciate your point that "An obvious advantage of evening congregational worship is found in the fact that it is much easier to keep the whole day sacred if it is begun and ended with corporate worship." Since your article appeared over 6 years ago, I was wondering if there would be more you would want to say in this regard?

Answer:

Thank you for your letter. I might just add to what you quoted out of that article. It should be obvious that what I said is a good, pragmatic argument. The fourth Commandment uses the term "Sabbath day." I think it is a matter of choice whether we define the day as from sundown to sundown or from midnight to midnight, but the commandment is one day in seven.

Now I would not "un-church" anyone who has a shrunken view of the Lord's Day. But all the Commandments are equally inspired and required for those who, having been saved by grace alone, want to please God with their redeemed lives! And it should be clear that those who habitually neglect the Lord's day are robbing themselves of needed blessing (Isa. 58:13-14).

I grew up in a home where keeping the Lord's Day holy was the rule. We were in a little rural Presbyterian church. There were times that I would have been glad to skip Sunday school and evening worship, but I did not dare to ask. Perhaps we weren't as serious about some of the in-between hours as we might have been, but we were there every Sunday evening unless there was a blizzard. And the pattern stuck with me. And I credit much of the deterioration of modern American morality and decency to the neglect of the Lord's Day.

My farmer father had a livestock trucking business which saved our farm during the Great Depression. His competition would load livestock Sunday evening to truck them to the stockyards for Monday's market, but he wouldn't go along with the competition. And faithful customers would get up at midnight to load their stock into his trucks for Monday's market. Any other night we'd come at any hour, but not Sunday. Habits like these have a powerful effect on children.

I give you this for what it's worth, but he who starves his soul for human convenience has himself to blame if he finds no joy in the worship of God.


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