As I read about the early days of the Adventist Movement, notice I did not say, “Seventh Day Adventist Movement” because that didn’t come along until a little later, I have noticed something which occurred then which is occurring today: Confusion. There are people then, as now, who questioned the “Testimonies” and the “spiritual gifts”. There is question today as was then regarding “Judgment”, time and place, the actual Atonement and with great, not dissatisfaction but disconcerting, to learn how much of what I “thought” was written by her, Mrs. Ellen G. White, was not written by her at all! Does it do away with the Truth of what was being written? No, but it causes me to sit back and re-evaluate one’s life and what has been taught. It also causes me to reassess my faith and to find a bearing upon which I need to stand. And it all boils down to what we hear so often, a “personal walk” which needs to be taken from the status of being a cliché into something which is actual and a reality.
There are some who say we should not use the name Jesus but Yeshua. There are others who caution whether it is too casual to use the greeting, “Happy Sabbath”. There are those who grew up not wearing a ring, now wearing them, and are conflicted because now they’re wearing ear-rings and other forms of jewelry which was not a part of their parent/grandparent’s church. Some are still battling within themselves regarding lamb and fish, having gotten away from those “other” clean meats and find satisfaction from not eating “unclean” meat at all. My own little growth giving up “de-caf” was a great step from the real caffeinated drink. While it is not an all-out rebellion from what we’ve known, it is finding out which works for us and coming to an agreement which works between us and “our” God as opposed to me satisfying the critics and “watchers”, those who seem to differentiate Adventism from “true” Adventists as setting some requirement, which they’ve achieved as the rule to determine your membership.
We Are A Mess!
And we are existing in this way because we don’t know what to believe, who to believe and how to go about it. This elder says this and another says that. Foundational pillars have been increased from the time I was baptized to now, and some question whether the ones we have are worth being pillars still. We’re in a state of turmoil and flux and not quite sure how we’re really existing but we do find the car headed to Sabbath School, for some, for Divine Service, for the majority, on Sabbath Morning, with clenched teeth during “meet and greet”, shaking hands and saying, “Happy Sabbath”. I’ve learned to avoid that part of the service because I’m not comfortable with it. Wasn’t around when I was growing up and now that I’m grown up, wish for those days when it was not around! But I still want to remain, “grown up”.
Perhaps what really needs to be taught in those Sabbath School classes, and from the Sacred Desk, is about how to have a “personal walk” with Christ. To learn “personal” doesn’t include you when I’m talking about me and Christ, but “me and Christ”. Christ and me. He sharing, teaching, guiding me and me performing the role of student, learning, following and developing to the point where the next step is more than being tolerant of you, but accepting you because you are on your “personal” walk with the same Christ who is guiding you, and me, to a point where we will begin to appreciate, join together and love each other because of what we are, individually, and collectively, in Him. But, this can never be because we’re too busy trying to have “personal” walks with each other and like oil and water we will never mix and choosing to mix it up in the parking lots just outside of the wonderful “word we just heard”, because I don’t “like” you.
We really need some “face time” with Jesus. Or Christ. Or Yeshua or however your personal walk has determined how you should call Him. I think through all this miasma of mess we’re wading through, like the Apostles of old trying to get it together regarding who they were and becoming as they were welcoming a new bunch of people who were considered outcasts previously, we’re just as messed up as they were. Many people will not be joining our church memberships because we’re not really “members” at all. We’re people with an agenda. We’re people with egos and pride and think the bar of measuring others is ourselves and hadn’t realized those others are measuring you as compared with themselves and somewhere Jesus is outside shaking His head, and the door you heard slamming and nobody saw who left, was the Holy Spirit.
There is only One who knows what is going on. There is only One who can guide us safely through the mess we are continuing to heap upon ourselves. There is only One who knows what He said, when He said to whomever was to write it, and it is still good enough for you and me to grab ahold and read and learn IF, IF, IF we apply it to ourselves and not to others—FIRST.
Maybe, if I begin looking to Christ for everything, then maybe I will be able to begin something which might spread into someone else. Yes, I think that might work. Let me focus on Bro. Roy AND Christ as a unit, a team working together to make me a better man. That might be a long work ahead, so if I spend less time getting into your mess, you’ll excuse me.
March 3, 2015