The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Welcome to the 'weekbegin'

This hit me a few years ago as I was looking at the texts for the Easter weekend — notice I said weekend: “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb” (John 20:1). That’s right. The resurrection happened on the first day of the week, on Sunday. And to celebrate the resurrection, Christians (generally) worship on the first day of the week. Yet most people think of Sunday as the end of the weekend.

How we view the day on which we worship affects our experience. If we see Sunday as the last day of the weekend, we define worship as the place we go after being worn down by the trials and challenges of the past week. This view can even make worship one final burden that we must drag ourselves to at the end of the week.

After a trying week of work and relationships, Sunday worship can be a time to allow God to lift us up and provide the word that will restore our hope. Still, if these are the only reasons why we come to worship, we miss out on a great deal of what else God has to offer. We miss out on one of the main reasons for coming to worship: to be equipped for the week ahead.

Genesis 1:26-31 tells us that human beings were created on the sixth day, the day before God created the Sabbath. So humankind’s first full day of existence was spent with God. This is how God intended for our week to begin. Yet the identification of Sunday with the weekend has made time with God one of the last things we do each week.

How might our worship experiences change if we see Sunday as the “weekbegin?” Instead of coming to get fixed from the past week, we now come with expectation and leave with purpose:

  • Looking forward to whatever and wherever God will lead us in the week ahead. We finish worship with the words “Go in peace. Serve the Lord.” This isn’t just a closing refrain to our worship, but rather a statement of the mission to which God sends us.
  • Outfitted with what we will need in order to do what God invites us to take on. God knows to what service or ministry we will be invited. Because God wants us to be successful in what we seek to do for the kingdom, God certainly will equip us.
  • Energetic and hopeful as we go forth to partner with God in meaningful ways. We can trust that God has something special for us to do in the days to come. Though we may have no idea what, we should expect that God does have something in mind for us that we can accomplish.

Each Sunday, we gather to celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. The resurrection isn’t just an event in the past. It’s the promise of a new beginning for all who believe. Even if we come to worship feeling “dead” from the past week, our worship becomes a new beginning — that opportunity to live in the promise of new life and new possibilities. We come ready to look forward with optimism to all that God has to offer and ready ourselves for what God calls us to do. We come with hopefulness and trust to prepare ourselves to go forth in the name of our Lord on the first day of a new week — the "weekbegin."


Ralph Stilwell

Ralph Stilwell

Posted at 6:27 pm (U.S. Eastern) 5/29/2012

I love the statement, "The resurrection isn't just an event in the past. It is the promise of a new beginning for all who believe." Of course we know that but the emphasis of weekbegin gives it a fresh emphasis. 

And I love the statements:"We now come with expectation and leave with purpose: looking forward to whatever and wherever God will lead us in the week ahead." We haven't just gotten our batteries charged, but have been given renewed guidance, and hope for the days ahead. 

Thanks for your refreshing article.

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