5 Things You are Not Allowed to Do on a Holy Day of Worship

1. You are not allowed to weep about your sins when you hear the reading of the Law of God.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our LORD. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them (Nehemiah 8.9-12).

2. You are not allowed to retreat by yourself to worship God.

3. You are not allowed to retreat to a family gathering to worship God.

4. You are not allowed to to exclude foreigners and the disenfranchised when you gather to worship God.

And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. For seven days you shall keep the feast to the LORD your God at the place that the LORD will choose, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful (Deuteronomy 16.11-15).

5. You are not allowed to fast from eating and drinking for pleasure.

You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you (Deuteronomy 14.22-27).

Related: How to be spiritual according to the Bible.

9 thoughts on “5 Things You are Not Allowed to Do on a Holy Day of Worship

  1. RevJATB

    That’s why the Sundays in Lent are called “The First Sunday IN Lent,” “The Second Sunday IN Lent,” etc., rather than “The First Sunday OF Lent,” etc. Sunday is always a feast day: the Sundays in Lent are not really a part of Lent. They can’t be.

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  2. pentamom

    I think 2 and 3 are referred to in the citation under #4.

    Valerie, the logic of the passage cited would say, “Yes.” It’s a holy day, and therefore that behavior is not appropriate for such a day. Period. To cite another example of how the BCP folks applied this, “ember days,” which are special days of repentance, are never Lord’s Days. However, if there are scriptural commands or examples that provide an exception, then that would modify it, I suppose. But I can’t think of any.

    Anyway, the passage doesn’t say you shouldn’t recognize your sin and repent. It says that this is the time to focus on the joy of the Lord, not on your own sins.

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  3. pentamom

    I hope I’m not too presumptuous in answering for you, Mark. It’s just that I read the questions, and start thinking about how I’d answer them, and out come the answers. Let me know if you’d rather I chill.

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  4. Valerie (Kyriosity)

    So what do you do when you hear the law and are convicted? I don’t mean we should wallow, but why not repentant weeping as long as it’s accompanied by glad and grateful receiving of mercy? (I’m too tired to be trying to think through this, so if I’m being obtuse, let me know and I’ll be sure to finish bewailing that shortcoming before Sunday. ;-)

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