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Is Sunday "No-Fun Day"?

Posted on May 1, 2024

We often call Sunday “The Lord’s Day,” and that’s the day that has been set aside for Christians to go to church to worship God. It should not be surprising, then, that the devil has used the culture over the last 70 years to make Sunday a busy day for fun and relaxation. But this begs another question: Can Christians have fun and relax on Sundays, or must we be strict in our observance of church attendance to the detriment of all other activities? 


There is no clear-cut answer. However, let’s look at some history, some Bible, and come to some important conclusions. 


The Early Days of Sunday Worship in America 


The United States was devoutly religious even before it became a nation. In the 1600s, when colonies were spread throughout the Eastern United States, different denominations of Christianity gave rise to strict observances of the Sabbath (or Sunday, which is not the Sabbath, but that’s what they called it). Perhaps none were more strict than the Puritans. The Puritans forbid citizens from fishing, shooting, sailing, rowing, dancing, jumping, or riding (except to church) on Sundays. The use of tobacco was also forbidden near the meeting-house. 


In Virginia, the Church of England enforced strict rules on Sundays as well. Journeys, boat-lading, and sports such as shooting, fishing, and game-playing were all forbidden. In New Netherland, the list of forbidden things included fishing, gathering berries or nuts, playing in the streets, working, and going on pleasure trips. 


All of these rules seem very strict to us today, but we must admit that there was great reverence for God’s Word and church attendance in these early days. It was a very different culture, for better and for worse. We could conclude, though, that Sunday was most certainly a solemn day. Some would probably call it “No-Fun Day.” 


The 1950s: When America Reverenced Church and Sunday


The 1950s started the “baby boom” generation. Families were excited for a fresh start after World War II had ended. Author Carol Tucker writes, “On a typical Sunday morning in the period from 1955-58, almost half of all Americans were attending church – the highest percentage in U.S. history. During the 1950s, nationwide church membership grew at a faster rate than the population, from 57 percent of the U.S. population in 1950 to 63.3 percent in 1960.” (source:


The entire culture of the ‘50s seemed to embrace the importance of Sunday worship, and this is seen in the fact that businesses were closed on Sundays so that everyone could attend church. This is one of the reasons why nearly half the population could attend church. But due to this, family values were much higher in the ‘50s. Sadly, this cultural moment would not last long, as the 1960s gave rise to revolution from young people, ushering in an era of great rebellion from authority (including God). 


The ‘50s seemed to be far more ideal than the early days of American religion. While people were not forbidden from traveling or fishing on Sundays, it was expected that most would respect the day and attend church. 


What About Today? 


Our culture has drastically changed in the last 70 years. Sunday is still observed by Christians, but this once-sacred day has become the day to relax, travel, and party. The vast majority of businesses are open on Sundays, and even Christians will find themselves going to parties or traveling on the day instead of attending church. 


The question for us today is this: How strict should we be concerning this important day? Are we free to do other things on Sundays, or should we only go to church? Well, let me point out first that we meet on Sundays because that is what the Early Church did (Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:2). This became their sacred day because that was the day that Jesus rose from the dead. We follow this pattern. Sunday should be a sacred day for every Christian. 


I firmly believe that God should come first on Sundays. You should do your best to attend church to worship God on this sacred day. Sunday is a holy day, meaning it has been set apart to the Lord. Too many Christians today see it as just “another day,” and even if they go to church, it is just something that they do. Sunday and church attendance should both be seen as something sacred. Many have lost sight of that. 


But beyond that, are we free to travel on Sundays, or to schedule family gatherings, or to go fishing? Notice what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 14:5, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” You must be fully persuaded what is best for you and your family. Don’t forget that one day you will stand before God and give account of your life. The final takeaway is this: be sure that church is a priority in your life. Don’t let the culture dictate what Sunday should be for you. Put God first. But beyond that, I believe God has given us great freedom in this area. God is not some strict, overbearing authoritarian who demands a certain amount of time from you each Sunday. No. God simply desires to have your heart. 


One thing is certain: Sunday is NOT “No-Fun Day.” 

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