From the Confessions: The Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Power of Bishops
It is the same with the Lord's Day, Easter, Pentecost, and other holy days and rituals. Those who think that it was by the authority of the Church that the observance of the Sabbath was changed to the Lord's Day are mistaken. Scripture has abolished the Sabbath day, teaching that since the Gospel has been revealed, all the ceremonies of Moses may be eliminated. Still, because it was necessary to appoint a certain day for the people to know when to assemble, the Church designated the Lord's Day for this purpose. This was done with the additional reason that people would have an example of Christian liberty, and might understand that keeping the Sabbath or any other day is not necessary.
Pulling It Together
The Large Catechism regards the Sabbath as “an entirely external matter, like the other regulations of the Old Testament associated with particular customs, persons, times, and places.” Christ has set us free from these kinds of regulations. One day is no better than any other. The day on which Christ arose is a wonderful choice for gathering together and for resting from our usual labors. But does the Lord's Day replace the Sabbath as a Christian commandment? It does not. We ought to be worshiping daily but we observe the Lord's Day as a time when we may assemble together for mutual edification (Rom 14:19), hearing and talking with each other about God's Word, receiving the sacraments, praying, singing, and otherwise praising God and giving thanks together. It is surely God's intention that we do so, since the pattern has long been with God's people, the apostles taught us to assemble, and the early Church observed their teaching. Yet, it is no longer a law, since Christ satisfied the demands of the law for us.
None of these things are done among us because we believe that in doing them, or by doing them on the right day, we are keeping the law and therefore, being made righteous with God. Instead, we freely gather together because we are thankful to God for his gifts and righteous presence in our lives. As the great Day of our Lord approaches, we should be together as much as possible so that we are encouraged in the faith and moved to love and other good works for Christ's sake.
Prayer: Lord, as the Day draws near, help me hold fast the confession of my hope in you. Amen.
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Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format.