The community is invited to participate in the new Sabbath services at St. Luke Church of Opportunity, 126 Brookside Lane, Morganton.
The church switched to Saturday Sabbath services July 7 and no longer offers Sunday services, after the subject of the Sabbath came up one church night by Russell Corpening Sr., trustee chairman of the church, said Aaron Hooper, bishop of the church.
“During our Wednesday night, ‘Let’s Talk Bible,’ brother Corpening asked why we did not observe the holy Sabbath,” Hooper said. “All of us come from a Christian background, and have roots in several other denominations, still were consistently taught ‘We go to church on Sunday.’ During conversations, we came to understand the most common explanation for this was (because) Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was on Sunday. We had not given much thought that Sunday was the first day of the week.”
Church members knew the Ten Commandments and focused specifically on Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV), which reads: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
Church members researched the Bible for instructions on whether services should be held on Saturday or Sunday, Hooper said.
“Nowhere is it recorded in Scripture that God said, ‘Go to church on Sunday,’” Hooper said. “So why do we?”
The group searched history books to see why Christians started Sunday worship services, he said. It was discovered that in 321 A.D., Constantine, a Roman emperor established a Sunday worship service to gain pagan worshipers of the sun god.
“Egyptians worshipped the sun god on sun-day,” Hooper said. “(Our) minds (were) blown!”
“Understanding that the God-given time of public convocation is Sabbath (as stated in) Leviticus 23:3 (KJV), and that both Jesus and his disciples observed the holy Sabbath, (as stated in) Mark 1:21, Mark 6:2, Luke 4:16, Mark 2:27, Luke 6:6, Acts 13:14, Acts 18:4, Acts 20:7 (KJV), we were moved to do the same,” Hooper said.
Hooper said that since switching to Sabbath services they have been blessed with fellowship from Dr. Gladys McClary, pastor of Bibleway No. 2 Church in Goldsboro.
“Through teaching, conversations and fellowship, our knowledge of the sacredness of the holy Sabbath has grown,” Hooper said. “It has truly been a delight. From sundown on Friday, until sundown Saturday, we worship and rest. We do our best to refrain from spending and working. Our worship is not legalism. We know we have jobs and cares of life that come as they will and often our attention to them cannot be avoided. That is fine. Jesus made it clear, ‘…The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.’ (Mark 2:27-28 KJV)”
Sabbath services are held at 9:45 a.m. for school and 11 a.m. for service, Saturdays. Every first Wednesday a prayer and praise service is held at 6 p.m. and other Wednesdays, Prayer and Let’s Talk Bible services are held at 6 p.m.
The church formed in November 1993 and will celebrate its 26th anniversary this month.
“It’s a place where you can worship, learn and experience Christian life with (an) understanding that nobody is perfect,” Hooper said. “During the Sabbath service, one can expect spiritual renewal. Praise, worship, word and rest are the key things that I’ve heard from Sabbath attendees. We’ve seen souls saved, heard testimonies of deliverance and had great fellowship. I’ve come to find myself leaving service anticipating the next one. Sabbath observance gives us time to break and enjoy what we have until sundown. We enjoy God and our family for the full Sabbath.”
The church is independent and non-denominational. It is not affiliated with Seventh-day Adventists or Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Barbara Jolly-Deakle is a News Herald correspondent and a member of the Morganton Writers Group. She can be reached at BabbyWrites@CompasCable.net.
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