8th Day People
#8thDayPeople is the podcast for February 18, 2018 . 8 is an important number for Christians. Although the 1960s music group The Beatles sang “Eight days a week,” they did not know that long before they made that claim Christians knew about the 8th day of the week. Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #1Peter #Beatles #Godsmack #8DaysAWeek #Resurrection #Baptism #KingdomofGod
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For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 2/18/2018 The 1st Sunday of Lent.
Please pause this audio and read 1 Peter 3:18-22
We are 8th Day People. I will come back to that.
The band “Godsmack” recently was noticed in a post on social media that reintroduced their remake of the 1960s band “The Beatles” hit “Come Together.” I do not endorse the band’s name, but it gives me an intro to myfor today.
Thinking of Godsmack reminds us that The Beatles had so many hits that it is hard to count them. Among those hits, there is a song that is apropos for our Epistle reading this Sunday. The song is “Eight Days a Week”, released in 1964. The inspiration for the song, as Paul McCartney one of the lead singers of the Beatles said, was from the malapropisms of the band’s drummer Ringo Star. Ringo often said things that didn’t make sense, but made sense. In this case, Ringo was complaining that the band was working “eight days a week, man!” The hit “A Hard Days Night” is another one of these gifts from Ringo.
The idea of an 8th day gives the idea of a love that is beyond what is possible, an eternal love. Hear the lyrics of the refrain:
Eight days a week
I love you.
Eight days a week
Is not enough to show I care.
Eight is an important number for us Christians. For example, do you know when a Baptismal font is not perfectly round how many sides it has? You guessed it, eight.
In fact, in the writings of the church fathers and mothers it is not uncommon for us to read that Jesus rose, not on the first day of the week, but on the “eighth day”. St. Cyprian said in his treatise on the baptism of infants,
For because the eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, was to be that on which the Lord should rise again, and should quicken us, and give us circumcision of the spirit, the eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, and the Lord’s day, went before in the figure; which figure ceased when by and by the truth came, and spiritual circumcision was given to us.
(Epistle LVIII.2 To Fidus, on the Baptism of Infants. 4)
Did you catch that? The eighth day is the day after the Jewish Sabbath, which is Saturday. So, this is how we have come to understand that Christians celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday instead of Saturday. We believe that when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he in essence created a new day, a new dawn, an “eighth day.”
Jewish male children were presented on the eighth day for circumcision to include them into the Jewish people. When we baptize on a Sunday or on the vigil, we are incorporating the baby or the catechumen into the Body of Christ. It is said it is the “eighth day” because it is beyond just keeping the Sabbath, it is being incorporated into the new day, the new life offered in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The number eight, to answer the question about baptismal fonts, represents one more than completion, which is represented by the number 7. This is why we have 7 days in a week. 7 days is completion, 8 days is beyond completion to perfection. 7 days is earthly. 8 days is eternal. Think of the lyrics of “Eight Days a Week” now.
We understand the number eight from this passage in 1 Peter 3:18-22. I have always loved this passage. It says eight things, believe it or not. Buckle up, here they are:
- Christ’s death was sacrificial and atoning. V.18, He died for all humanity and that includes you. Without him, we would still be offering lambs and goats for our sins as Leviticus prescribes. He is our “Lamb of God.” The altar is the Cross.
- This preeminent sacrifice had ultimate finality. V. 18, Because he is both man and God, emphasis on God for this point, he is eternal. Because he is eternal, his offering of himself on the cross is eternal. When we celebrate Mass, we don’t re-sacrifice, we re-visit His eternal sacrifice.
- His suffering and death were vicarious. V. 18, like the Lamb in Leviticus, the sins of the world for all people, are placed on him. God forgives the sins of the world in advance.
- Christ’s death has a reconciling effect. Vv. 18-22. This means that God does not have anger towards us, but the affection of a parent waiting for their wayward child to come home. The Father says, “Come home to me. My Son has paid the price.”
- His death was transcended by resurrection life. Vv. 21-22. We who are grafted into Jesus are part of his resurrection because he transcended this life. So, when we are part of Jesus, we are part of the Kingdom of God, the resurrected life that we will see made into the permanent reality in the Second Coming.
- The effects of Jesus’ death and resurrection were far-reaching: it had retroactive power in that Christ was able even to rescue the wicked who had suffered destruction in the Flood. V. 20. This means that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is for all people for all times. When he “descended to the dead” or “descended into hell” he went there to gather up those who went before Jesus walked the earth. The Lord doesn’t want to leave anyone out. The invitation is for all.
- The action is Baptismal in this Baptismal Hymn. V. 21. All 6 of these points preceding are offered in Baptism: we are forgiven, we are grafted into Jesus Christ, we are forgiven of our sins, we are renewed, we are made heirs of salvation, members of the Kingdom of God, and we are made part of the mission of God on earth.
- We are joined to Christ in Baptism and we are ontologically changed, forever. Vv. 18-22. This means we are different than before our baptism. John Paul II said, “You are Christ,” when referring to baptism. I agree. We are made part of Christ, so we are Christ. That change was given to us in our baptism. We can forget who we are, but if we are baptized, it is a fundamental change: we are now 8th Day People, 8 Days a Week.
There are eight sides to a baptismal font because we are made 8th Day People. We are part of the new eternal day which was inaugurated by the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. On that day, the Resurrection Day, we were invited to become part of the renewing of the face of the earth. That invitation is given in Baptism, accepted by our way of life and commitment to living in the Kingdom of God.
Lent is the time when we traditionally prepare people for Baptism. They will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. They will be baptized on the Eighth Day, the Resurrection Day, the Renewal Day, the Lord’s Day, Sun/Sonday. We will celebrate all those who are brought into the Kingdom on that day because we are 8th Day People, changed at the core by Baptism. Baptism is not just to forgive our sins and make us shiney and new, but to imbue us with the power of people who are joined together by God for the mission of renewing the face of the earth. We do that work tirelessly in everything we do. We work to advance the Kingdom 8 days a week. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2018.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian