Why have an Evening Service? #1 Sabbath Rest & Worship

Our evening services will resume at 6pm on Sunday 22nd August 2021. Since it has been a year and a half since our last in-person evening service some may wonder – ‘Why do we have two services each Lord’s Day?’ I’m going to share a few brief thoughts on this topic over the next two or three weeks to explain the importance and the value of Sunday evening worship.

The first clue is in a phrase I’ve already mentioned – the Lord’s Day. Is this simply an antiquated way of referring to a Sunday? No, it’s much more than that.

The 10 Commandments capture the heart of the moral law of God. As such they are binding on us today. Of course, we don’t obey in order to be saved, but as those rescued by Jesus, we want to live to please him. The fourth commandment says

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy”.

(Exodus 20:8)

This is good news! In order to bless us God wants us to devote a day per week to rest and to worship. From the earliest days of the Church this Sabbath has been Sunday – the day of Jesus’ resurrection. The Shorter Catechism says each Sunday should be marked by “holy resting all that day from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days and spending the whole time in the public and private exercise of God’s worship except so much as is taken up in the works of necessity and mercy”.

Some of us work jobs of “necessity and mercy” which make Sunday working essential. Getting drawn into pedantic discussions about precisely what work we may do is unlikely to be fruitful – after all God gave this day to bless and not to burden us! What is clear is that Sunday is to be a whole day of rest and worship. Christians down the centuries have therefore begun and ended the day in worship. Where we can, we should do the same.