New Year’s Day 2023
Some people are excited for the new year. Some are skeptical that it will be any different. Others have given up hope altogether that things are doing anything but spiraling out of control. As believers, New Year’s Day, 2023, offers us an opportunity to make a declaration.
We have an opportunity to decide what time we live by. New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, as of course did Christmas. What time will we live in during 2023? Christians have gathered to worship on the Lord’s Day since the Resurrection itself. Why? What is the significance?
On Easter, it is common enough to hear people around the church say, “Happy Resurrection Day!” That’s a great reminder of what the day is about. However, it would be equally appropriate to say it every Sunday. In John’s Gospel, we find that Jesus was raised on the 1st day of the week (John 20:1), appeared to the disciples a week later on the 1st day of the week as they gathered (John 20:19), and because Thomas had missed it, he had to wait until a week later when the disciples had gathered again (John 20:26) to experience the resurrected Jesus. Paul tells us that believers were to set aside monies proportionate to their income on the first day of the week. The implication is that this was the day they gathered for worship. Why?
Because it is the day when the new creation began with the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Everything in the old creation ended in death. Our lives are marked by something different: life. We remind ourselves, even train ourselves, to recognize that we live according to another time—new creation time—by beginning our week to gather with the disciples to meet with Jesus.
There is a word that describes the purpose or goal of this kind of consistent behavior. Formation. Our gathering on Sunday is a liturgy and liturgies (in their ideal form) are designed to train us, to form us into disciples; ultimately, into the image of Christ. Our gathering on the first day of the week, resurrection day, to worship is a declaration that we belong to a new time, a new age, a.k.a. the messianic age.
As we begin 2023, let’s begin by marking this time with the declaration that we belong to another day, a new day, which has become available in Jesus Christ.