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Tuesday: A Day of Equality — 16 Comments

  1. At first, I thought that today's topic did not really apply to me. I don't have servants. I don't employ anyone. So today's lesson is really for the rich and management types. But overnight the thought grew that I was not going to get off that easily. I live in a community where Seventh-day Adventists have a bit of presence. And sometimes our neighbors gain the impression that we think we are a bit superior to them. Because we go to church on Saturday and generally keep aloof from them for the whole 24 hours, we exude an odor of moral superiority. And if one of our neighbors mows the lawn or has a party on our Sabbath, they are given to understand they are intruding into our sacred space.

    Maybe there is more to this equality notion than we think. How exclusive are we when it comes to Sabbath?

    I was in outback Australia doing a bit of nature photography and we thought we were as far from Adventist churches as you could be. On Sabbath, we were on our way to a local billabong (pond) to do some "sabbath" bird observation when we came across a little village and to our surprise, there was a sign Seventh-day Adventist Church. We followed it and sure enough, there was a little church in the bush (forest) with a few cars parked outside. Carmel and I decided on the spot that we would join them. The congregation numbered about ten and the local elder was conducting a full church-manual scripted service. The arrival of a couple of strangers dressed in T-shirts and jeans clearly rattled him. He turned to us and said, "Ah well, better late than never I suppose!" And that was about the total conversation that that congregation had with us during the entire visit. I said to Carmel afterward that we should have told them we were angels in disguise!

    How do we present the Sabbath to "thy stranger that is within thy gates"? Are we welcoming and sharing, or do we carry an air of superiority?

    • Very interesting story, you definately given me some food for thoughts. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus clearly states that we should learn from him in humility and he will find rest for our souls.
      Thanks for your post!!

    • I like to think that the Sabbath keeping should be inclusive, not exclusive. Doing activities with neighbors and friends, specially outdoors, could be something very good. Clearly, it should be a day for joy, family, and ultimately, a day to develop love! With this in mind, The Ten Commandments become a result of conduct, not a burden. Laws are supposed to exist to keep people safe, not to make people sad... Prior to that, God made everyone free to choose! "But before we get into any game, we must first know the rules!!!" That's the purpose, no surprise!

    • One Sabbath after church I took our Pathfinders to the local river to hike and enjoy a cooling break (the temperature gets to be 120+ in the summer). As sundown started we began vespers. We sang a song and had prayer. The next song we sang was in Spanish and the kids were singing loudly. The group who had been next to us all day came and joined us. They sang and prayed and listened to the Bible stories. After sundown they invited us to eat with them. What a wonderful way to close the Sabbath.

    • Many of us Seventh day Adventists are guilty of this "superiority" attitude,as a result we even never invite our neighbors not to say the strangers within our gates.
      You see God created the Sabbath for everyone and it included the beasts within our gates this brings about the equality of all of God's creation in the eyes of God.

      The Sabbath will be a joyous occasion when we regard as equal before the Lord.

    • Firstly, I love your well-rounded thought provoking comments Maurice and look forward to reading your insights so thankyou!

      I like your “air of superiority” comment and find it alienating as a SDA in my own life. By the unpopular choices and beliefs we abide by, others appear to think you’re judging them for theirs. No-one enjoys feeling judged and therefore tend to avoid contact. At the same time I go to church and can’t help but think that we’re the Jews all over again, sticking to traditions and doing the “right thing” but there’s no love at the heart of it. My best friend - a believer from another denomination came to my baptism and summed it up..”there’s no joy in that church”. Sadly I tend to agree and I think it could be because so many of us are caught up with the letter of the law rather than the spirit of it. So worried about what we can’t do rather than finding a way to meet people where they are and showing love and acceptance to all. SDA’s often strike me as too scared to step out of their comfort zone and form secular friendships in case some “worldlyness” rubs off. We have so much to learn from Christ. If Christ was truly at the heart of each one of us rather than the letter of the law, the church may well be more welcoming and joyful to all.

      • K Stock,

        I get what you are saying and I do hope that as the new convert, you'll exemplify a difference that will win your friend. I'm happy that even though amidst the lack of joy, God has ministered to you. Be so caught up with God & His renewing power that the church members will see the difference & your friend as well that it will provoke them to righteousness. Let no one quench your experience or new found love, joy & peace in the Holyspirit! At the appointed time God will impress you with what to say to them.


  2. Sabbath a day represents God's finished worked.
    In creation, God rested on the seventh day.
    In redemption, God rested on the seventh day.
    In glorification, God will rest on the seventh day restoring the relationship began in the garden of Eden.

    Sabbath will always represent God's finished work and man resting on the finished work of God.

    All our redemptive act of Christ in the bible is celebrated as the Sabbath day.

    Sabbath is day inclusive of everyone in creation, redemption and glorification.

    "God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

  3. I visited a Presbyterian church some years ago and I was warmly welcomed. The ushers were friendly and looked very happy they gave me a notebook and a pen. Later the visitors were the first to be shown where to stay during the lunch and that was a special room with the pastors and church leaders.

    Last Sabbath I visited one church with my family and nobody recognized us a family of seven people. The ushers seemed very busy and stressed looking for the owners of envelopes....and I was like why don't we use these envelopes just once to avoid this stress.
    After the Sabbath school my wife and kids could not come back to the church because it was already full.
    They stayed outside without tent or umbrellas sitting on benches. The announcements took the best part of the morning. The pastor started the elder in charge followed then the division into home churches.
    When the divine service started the pathfinder director started another introduction and announcements.
    The preacher started to preach some minutes to one o'clock and he also started with announcements and introduction.
    After the sermon the pathfinder director came with more announcements and the elder in charge followed with some reminders.
    Everyone seemed serious nobody was happy.
    When I came out my family was nowhere to be seen. They had left the church when the preacher started a long introduction focusing on himself.

    What would happen if a non-adventist visited such a church?

    • Food for thought!!! I am going to cite this as an example to our church because often times it's drudgery and like we are passing time in church. I'm frequently asked to do the welcome & I will bear these things in mind. I dont think we have reached the cold stage yet but once I am there by God's help, I will do my best to reach out to everyone that comes thru our doors!

      Thank you my brother!

  4. As a child growing up, I remember being taught not to purchase things on the Sabbath. I did as I was told, but honestly, it wasn’t until I became an adult that I truly understood why. Although store clerks are not our servants, we cause them to work when we do business with them. Furthermore, I also learned about preparing for the Sabbath (as the Israelites learned with the manna) . This would prevent the need to even go and purchase anything on the Sabbath (ie: vehicle gas, food, etc.). My question, however, to anyone willing to answer is how can we still share our joy of the Sabbath with others who may not be resting? As Maurice mentioned the “superior neighbor” attitude, it made me think...how can I be neighborly and share my Sabbath joy with others in a way that is inviting, loving and kind? What do you say?

  5. I have a question
    Since even the strangers that are within our gates are to keep the Sabbath, how do we get or encourage visitors (whether strange or familiar, even relatives - some of them staying or living with us) to honour the Sabbath especially if they don't want to? What if they would prefer to watch secular shows on television (the one in the sabbath keeper's home) instead?

    • There's not one size fit all answer to this but sometime ago a friend of mine who used to sit with my baby brother when I was away wanted to come & visit when we had moved to another country. My husband & I were elated with the idea. She knew we were SDAs and she was Pentecostal. We explained that while we were happy to have when it came to the hours between sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, we kept the Sabbath & that includes visitors & families coming to stay with us. We also state that we have family worship every morning & evening at a set time and we ate a particular way. While we are not forcing our convictions on her,we stated that we have divine obligation to God to ensure she was aware of this and that we have to be obedient and she should prayerfully consider what we have said and let us know. She came for 3 weeks and she came with us to church everytime and told us she enjoyed our family worship more than the church setting.She came with us to church except for one Sabbath; she went by a family member and she was respectful enough to tell us four hours before sundown that she knew that our preparation was completed at a certain hours & we welcome the Sabbath at sundown and she was going to spend the weekend at a family friend so she would come & get some stuff before all of this.

      Saying all of this, there are some family members that will debate & draw attention to your belief & lament that we serving the same God etc. Our tone, attitude & motives have to be as God desires. Once we honor God, He'll honor us!

  6. Do we give rest to our hired servants (workers in restaurants) on Sabbath? In the past, I attended a church whose pastor and family went out to eat at restaurants on Sabbath.

  7. I saw an online definition of equality that explains it this way:
    "Equality is ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are not treated differently or less favourably , on the basis of their specific protected characteristic, including areas of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age."

    "The ministry of Christ was in marked contrast to that of the Jewish elders. . . . To avoid contact with the “unclean,” they kept aloof, not only from the Gentiles, but from the majority of their own people, seeking neither to benefit them nor to win their friendship. . . . Their example encouraged egotism and intolerance among all classes of the people...."

    "...Jesus began the work of reformation by coming into close sympathy with humanity......... He was seeking to break down the barriers which separated the different classes of society, that He might bring men together as children of one family."—The Desire of Ages, p. 150.

    In the Sabbath, Jesus has given all of us a weekly reminder,that we can all equally benefit from in a powerful way, of just how equal we all are before God.


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