Thursday, March 10, 2016

DJD310 - "Seventh-day Adventist"

Read More Daily Jesus

Revelation 22:12-13

Starting Question:

What area of your life do you struggle to keep balanced?

"Seventh-day Adventist"

** Continued from "Seventh-day" Adventist and Seventh-day "Adventist" previously **

What’s in a name? A lot - when it comes to the name Seventh-day Adventist.

The first part, Seventh-day, reflects back on human history. Back to the moment we received forgiveness for and freedom from our slavery to sin. And back further, before Egypt - to the creation story - a time before sin. We celebrate the Sabbath, weekly, at the call of our Creator and in worship our Redeemer - as we look back.

The second part, Adventist, peers forward to a time to come when all prophecies will be fulfilled, all sin will be destroyed and all righteousness will be revealed. With anticipation we prepare ourselves and those around us through word and action. Looking forward we live in hope and assurance.

Reaching both forward and backward requires good balance. It takes careful planning and consistent refining. How are we to live up to the name of our faith? Is it possible to be both “Seventh-day” and “Adventist” without downplaying one or the other?

As “Seventh-day” people reaching back should we, due to our commitment to God’s creation, focus on making this world a better place? Or, knowing it will all burn, should we focus solely on developing our character in preparation for the future Kingdom, abandoning our call to be stewards of the Earth? 

As “Adventist” people reaching forward should we, due to our passion for the return of Jesus, spend our days studying prophecy, preaching to people and calling sin by its right name? Or, knowing that in Christ all are changed, should we focus our time on caring for the lost, hoping that by becoming all things to all people by all means we might save some?

Many have fallen in the ditches alongside the road of our faith, busying themselves with one passion or another. To be both “Seventh-day” and “Adventist” takes a constant tightening and trimming of our sails. Compromise is not the answer - we cannot let go of the Sabbath or the Second Coming. Combination is also not the answer - stirring them into some mixed broth of partial attention to both leaves us in watered down lukewarmness. Our focus forward and backward must hold our attention equally.

Being a “Seventh-day Adventist” is to have a consistent and conscious grip on this Earth and the Kingdom to come - like pulling a length of rope tight in your hands. To relax either grip leaves you sagging. Releasing one end causes everything to fall apart. Pulling evenly, on both realities, provides a balanced place from which to work - focused forward, remembering.

Jesus was the best example of this balanced approach. Being fully man and fully God, He did not let go of either. Instead He held the two in tension. At times His humanity overwhelmed Him with tears - for lost friends, a lost city or His own death. Other times His divinity flashed through, knocking soldiers to the ground, “I am He!” or hinting at access beyond this world, “Do you not know I can call 10,000 angels?” Imagine the tug-of-war going on inside the mind of Jesus as He walked this world. He chose to reveal God in this way. Healing, forgiving, caring, feeding, praying, dying. Rising.

This is to be our story as well. Like Jesus, focused on the temporal needs of the poor and sick in first century Palestine, we mend the broken and heal the hurting in our world. And like Him, taking every possible chance to speak about the Kingdom of God even though it was beyond understanding, we proclaim the promised return of our Creator God-Man Redeemer King.

We all lean one way or another. What will you change in your approach to become more like Jesus and thus a more balanced Seventh-day Adventist? 

Reflection Question:
What is your favourite part of your faith? What need to develop?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
Audio Presentation "The Tension of the Seventh-day Adventist Identity: An Existential &   Eschatological Perspective by Jacques Doukhan"
This audio presentation is where I got the ideas for these last three posts on being a Seventh-day Adventist. It's a great sermon! enjoy!

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