Christian Counseling Must Counter Secular Society’s View of Sunday
Secularism has distorted the true meaning of Sunday. Sunday has become another day of the week for sales, overtime hours, secular entertainment, and odd jobs around the house. Certified Christian Counselors, pastors, priests and religious need to overcome this alarming trend with a strong condemnation in private and public discussions.
In the time of Our Lord, the Sabbath was Saturday and not Sunday. Yet the same sacredness within the Jewish religion was applied to the original Sabbath. Overtime though, the Sabbath entered into a completely opposite orbit of extremism than we see today. The Pharisees and their many man made regulations corrupted the essence of the Sabbath and reduced it to a book of rituals and rules. Some rules were completely and totally humorous in what was deemed necessary and unnecessary work. The Sabbath became a burden instead of a blessing.
Christ understood the corruption and over bureaucratic manipulation of the Sabbath and challenged it. On multiple times, Christ healed on the Sabbath and allowed his disciples to perform necessary servile deeds. In essence, Our Lord understood three things. First, our duty to God and our neighbor is never in contradiction to the Sabbath. Second, he understood the corruption of the Pharisees and how they had distorted His Father’s day and finally, he understood the true nature of the Sabbath and hoped to restore it to the people.
With these things in mind what are we required of regarding the Sabbath? The Commandment itself seems vague, “Thou Shalt Keep Holy The Sabbath”. What falls under “keeping Holy”? Christianity has little disagreement in the first element–worship of God. Most mainstream Christian denominations find it essential to attend Service, Mass, or Liturgy. Only due to sickness or some unforeseen issue, can one miss Sunday services. This is not always a common consensus among all denominations, however, and some consider it not a prerequisite. I would contend personally it is since Sunday remembers the Holy Resurrection and also the necessity of Christ’s Mystical Body to worship Christ together.
Another objective element of “keeping Holy the Sabbath” involves physical labor. Obviously labor is forbidden on Sunday, but there is some debate as to what constitutes labor and whether the labor is necessary or unnecessary. As we know, this question has been around for a long time. As noted, the Pharisees were quite critical of any labor, even the healing of another person. So obviously, Christ would expect, if our ministry presented it, to perform corporal works of mercy that involve labor for the least of our brethren. The problem becomes more when Christian Counselors are presented with unnecessary labor that may become necessary due to weekly schedules. One example. Shoveling snow on Sunday so your driveway is clear in the morning for work. Should we do it during Sunday or wake 2 hours earlier on Monday? These are hard things to decipher. Obviously, unnecessary servile work should be condemned as well as any unneeded shopping but as one can see there are many gray areas. I feel, if gray, to allow the person to make the decision because as our Lord said, the Sabbath is not to burden us but to bless us!
The final element of “keeping Holy the Sabbath” involves the very definition, keeping it holy! Sunday should be a day of rest and worship but also of continued worship. Christian Counselors can encourage their spiritual children to set aside extra time after Services to pray, read the Bible or perform other charitable acts. Sunday should become a day where Christians worship God beyond the Church but also into the marketplace and home. We do not simply show up for one hour a week and then return to the world, but we take it with us. Our worship of God should be a Monday through Saturday prayer that reaches its culmination and exclamation on Sunday.
Does this mean we cannot on Sunday have secular fun? Not in the least. God expects us to rest from our labors and enjoy life. Is this not why he rested on the Seventh Day of creation? So, as long as we have put spirituality first and the needs of the church first, then by all means, enjoy a few secular activities with family and friends. I definitely enjoy my football games even though my Browns usually make me cry!
With that, let us all attempt to worship God more perfectly on Sunday and understand the gift of Sunday and to utilize this gift properly for God’s glory and our own sanity.
If you are interested in Christian Counseling Certifications, please review the program. The Education Program in Christian Counseling includes taking core courses by qualified professionals for certification.
If you wish to recertify in the Education Program in Christian Counseling, then one after three years must accumulate over five hundred hours of academic and professionals hours.
Mark Moran, MA