The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Three days

Not 'back in time' but spiritual power unleashed for today

My mind would wander in Sunday school, confirmation class and, yes, even at worship.

I’d think of all kinds of interesting things. How the pastor managed to keep cool under all that cloth on sweltering Sundays. How he so patiently paused every Sunday when three minutes into his sermon the noisy freight train passed the church without fail. Why the organ wheezed when it was turned off so we could hear certain portions of the liturgy, like the confession of sins and the sermon. How big the bell was—it lifted the man ringing it as he clung to the rope apparently for dear life.

My mind would wander and wonder.

Early on I wondered about that phrase from the Apostles’ Creed: “The third day he rose again.” (That’s how we said it. There was no preposition to begin that phrase.) I knew what I was confessing but wondered how the days were counted.

When someone told me that the Jews, and early Christians, understood that the day began at sundown, this became even more of a problem for me—more reason for wondering. That’s the reason Genesis rather peculiarly says “it was evening and it was morning the first day” (1:5).

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