The Sabbath is a celebration of God’s perfect creation. Celebrating the perfect creation means that we are somebody, we are valued. But more than this we celebrate present liberation and sanctification. God told Israel to remember the Sabbath because of both the deliverance from Egypt as well as the creation. We are also told that it is a great sign of God’s Sanctifying Power. Ultimately, the Sabbath is a celebration of the full restoration that will only come at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Thus in addition to preaching the Sabbath as being the right day, we can preach the themes of Liberation, Sanctification, Creation, Covenant, Second Advent, even the Sanctuary as we weave in the present work of God.
So if someone says, “I am tired”…what is the Answer? The Sabbath of Rest!
Someone else may say, “I don’t feel like I am worth anything.”… what is the answer? The Sabbath’s call to remember God’s creation of a Very Good creation.
Someones else is saing, “I wonder if I have the strength to do what God calls me to do.” The answer… The Sabbath reminds me of God’s creative power which if it could create the whole world out of nothing can give me strength to overcome whatever is in my way.
Within this context the Sabbath can truly be the embodiment of our faith and worthy of the name “affirmation of our faith.” Praise God for the Sabbath.
The Spectrum Blog has a provocative post on how the Sabbath saved the Adventists from selling their soul to a political party. In light of the fact that white Adventists have voted similarly to evangelicalicals the question can be asked, “Why have they not joined the religious right totally?”
Could it be that our minority status among Christians makes us leary of the kinds of politics that the religious right uses? Alex over at the Spectrum blog seems to think so and I am inclined to agree. Perhaps someone should do more study of the political ramifications of being a Sabbath-keeping church.
Over at the Adventist News Network there is an article that has implications for the connection between the health message and Adventist practice.
Churchgoers More Likely to Be Obese
According to Purdue University News they found that church goers are more likely to be obese. While the study had a sample of all church members and not just Adventist ones, no one has studied Adventist obesity specifically. Interestingly a typical Sabbath was described as sitting in a church most of the Sabbath and eating a dinner that may or may not be low on calories.
The article speaks of a trend towards obesity in the Adventist church. Jonathan Duffy, health ministries director in the South pacific, states that:
Health has long been a litmus test for our religiosity. You were a good Adventist because you didn’t do this, now you are a mature Adventist because you are no longer tied to the old ‘works’ thing and you show it by doing what you didn’t used to do. For example, Adventists didn’t eat meat or drink alcohol. So how do we emphasize the theology of health, the relationship between my health and my spiritual well being? We have stopped talking about it and the church has stopped doing it and who is left to talk about it?
What about Exercize?
One aspect that should be brought out is that among some Adventists the health message consists of simply not eating pork or not eating meat depending on who you are. I personally know of people who will talk for days about what to eat and yet they are not exercizing one bit. It would seem that at best we have a truncated health message that looks past really poor health practices while congradulating itself on its lack of meat or lack of pork in the diet.
Is It Dead?
What think ye…Is the health message dead? Have we tied it to an old works based religion that we either hold to tightly or diregard as irrelevant? These are questions that we should begin to ask as our waistlines continue to get bigger and bigger.