The greatest day of the year!
One side of my family has always treasured Christmas as the most significant day on the Christian and family calendar. The other side disdained such a pagan history and instead emphasized only those commanded days of worship recorded in Scripture. The compromisors inclined themselves toward a stew-y mixture of the whole thing.
Holy Day or Holi-day, is there really any difference? Our Wineskins study considered the conflict and set a course to navigate the theological pot hole.
On one end of the spectrum, God has demanded that his people come out of the practices of the world and “be separate”. To this end he instituted special days of worship with eternal ramifications: days like Passover, Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles. Those who chose to engage in the foreign religious observances or to blend Judaic and pagan rituals directly contributed to the outpouring of God’s wrath.
In seemingly the complete other direction, Scripture declares under the New Covenant that “all things are permissible” and not to judge anyone regarding what day they consider special in their worship of God. And so, making up our own days of religious celebration like Easter or even avoiding significant days like Lent or Advent appear to be equally acceptable.
Does it really matter what days we view as special before God?
Absolutely! The caveat here is that we err in viewing this as a matter of traditional significance or historical practices. The covenant between God and man has shifted from the Old to the New and what constitutes righteousness is not about required observances, but the genuine pursuit of honor of the holy Name of God.
That being said, we are not the ones who get to determine what truly honors God. When we pick times that we prefer to praise God, we remain dangerously exposed to the influence of our own carnal natures. For that reason, our freedoms of worship are constrained by faith as guided by the Holy Spirit. As the Bible states, we no longer live according to the Law, but by the Spirit. That means that acceptable worship is a matter of faith expressed in submission to the lead of God’s Spirit.
Rather than one right day, or one wrong day, God says that the day he prefers is called “Today”. How we then distinguish the manner in which we honor God ought to be more reflective of how God has drawn each of us to him. Just as the Spirit places believers in the Body as he sees fit, so our differences are manifested in the uniqueness of our faith-walk.
This does not make every practice OK; rather, it makes every submission to the evidence of the Spirit’s lead, the glowing confirmation of God’s pleasure at our free-will offering of worship. In this way, Jesus causes everything to work together for the good, including what days are acceptable for personal worship, of those who demonstrate their sacrificial love for him and who reflect the transforming evidence of having responded to the call according to his purpose.
As far as the original Holy days, they remain significant in the revelation of God’s divine and eternal plan of Redemption: the unfolding of Christ saving those who belong to him in human time and space.
Those who choose to disregard the significance of the days God historically declared to be holy, risk missing not only the revelation of our promised salvation, but also the Revelator himself. So, whether we choose to privately meditate on those days, or we feel compelled to dance and sing in community on those days, “all things are permissible”.
And what is permissible, remains beneficial when led by the Spirit rather than by tradition, culture, or obsolete command.
In your worship, may you find reason to declare Holy, Holi, Wholly without slipping into the Pot Hole of unbiblical conflict.
What is your greatest day?