November 18, 2019

n a season where it is traditional for people to list the things they are thankful for, I've decided to mention just one thing.

I'm thankful for Sundays.

Now, that may seem like an odd thing to be thankful for, but I'm going to explain why it is so important, and why everything else hinges on Sundays.

Sunday is the reset button -- a re-boot -- a fresh start.  It cannot be obtained with a hike in the mountains (as much as I would enjoy that, and as much as it would be refreshing), meditating in a quiet place, or by any other means.  I will explain why.

Years ago, I made a covenant with God.  A covenant is a promise with a blessing attached.  Unlike the legal definition (which is a contract), a covenant with God is God's promise to use to bless us, but it comes with certain requirements.

Every blessing I enjoy and hope to enjoy in the eternities is based upon these covenants made with God.  I fall short of those blessings regularly.   There's only one person who ever fully qualified for all of those blessings and that was Jesus Christ.

Because I fall short of those blessings, I must rely on two gifts from Jesus Christ:  

Gift 1 - the gift of the resurrection.  It's unconditional.  My only qualification for this gift was being born.  Salvation through the resurrection will come to everyone, and when it does, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Messiah.

Gift 2 - the gift of forgiveness.  It's conditional.  It requires a broken heart, contrite spirit and effort to improve.  Yet, no matter what, I'm going to fall short in this effort.  That is where spiritual salvation comes through Jesus Christ's atonement... and that's where Sunday comes in.

When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, they built an alter, and Adam offered sacrifices.  After a period of time doing this, an angel appeared to Adam and asked him, "Why doest thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord?"

All Adam knew was he did this because he was commanded to do it.  However, the angel explained, "This thing is a asimilitude of the bsacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of cgrace and dtruth."

When Jesus Christ came, the practice of blood sacrifice was done away and replaced with the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit.  It still involves and alter.

On Sundays, I renew my covenants with God by partaking of the emblems of the resurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ.  Duly ordained Priest of God (much like those in ancient times) prepare bread (representing the resurrection) and water (representing the atonement) and administer them to those who have covenanted with God to keep His commandments, to always remember Him, and to take upon them the name of Christ.

When I approach this ordinance with a broken heart and contrite spirit, I qualify to have my sins forgiven.  The reset button is pressed and I come away as a new being.

Every week I make mistakes and comes Sunday, I get to have those mistakes erased.    While I can repent and receive forgiveness midweek, there are going to be things I forget or neglect.  That's where the promise of the Sabbath day come in to play.

"9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself aunspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of bprayer and offer up thy csacraments upon my dholy day;

"10 For verily this is a aday appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
"11 Nevertheless thy avows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
"12 But remember that on this, the aLord’s day, thou shalt offer thine boblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, cconfessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord."

Because it is a commandment (#3 of the 10), simply not honoring it, only ads to those things I would need to repent of.

Going to church isn't a social thing.  Yes, I see friends there, but it wouldn't matter one iota if I went and knew nobody.  It wouldn't matter if nobody came up and shook my hand.  Even if someone at church treated me in an unchristian-like manner.  That wouldn't matter.  It's not about who is there.

It's not about the speakers or music.  While they often add to the spirit of the day, I'm not at church to be entertained or educated.  Those may be part of the meetings, but that's not why I'm there.

I am there to renew my sacred covenants with God.  It's the only place where I can do this.    There are only certain people authorized and ordained to do this. It's the only time of the week I can do it.   In order to renew these covenants, I need to be in the right place, at the right time.  For me, that's at church on Sundays.

So, every blessing I enjoy now, or will yet enjoy, is linked directly to what I do on Sundays.  Yes, I'm thankful for many other things, including those things that enable the blessing that come as a result of honoring the Sabbath.  I'm thankful that God created Sundays as a help to improve myself and strive to be all that God wants me to be so that I can enjoy all the blessings He has in store for me.

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