August 28, 2014
What and Why?
The Page 7 feature “What Is It?” (Aug. 28, 2014), the account of God’s sending “manna” to relieve the famine at the mission station in Angola in 1939 was inspiring, clearly showing that God is still alive and well, and that He loves His children.
That God continues to send it on Wednesdays and Fridays (and special occasions) when the famine is over is even more interesting, raising the question of “Why?”
Perhaps He sends it on Wednesdays to save residents time in preparing supper, so they can attend mid-week prayer meeting; and on Fridays so they don’t have to cook Sabbath dinner. Did Alberto Timm and William Fagal find out anything about this when they visited?
Given that God is the Master Nutritionist, it would be more than interesting to send some of the manna for a complete nutritional analysis, especially as we try to align our diets with God’s plan for us. If the nutritional information were available, that, along with the story itself, would make a valuable contribution to scientific literature, as well as an interesting news story. It would support the reality and uplift the character of the God we serve.
It was a delight to read “14-Year-Old Surprises Camp Meeting by Reciting Three Bible Chapters From Memory” (Aug. 21, 2014) about the girl from India and her ability to recite from memory the entire Sermon on the Mount.
In 1932 I was invested as a Master Comrade (now Master Guide.) At the time, one of the requirements was to memorize Matthew 5 through 7, Psalm 23, the Three Angels’ Messages, 1 Corinthians 13, and a few other Bible passages. Memorizing has always been easy for me, but for many candidates learning by heart the Sermon on the Mount proved a difficult challenge. The requirement was later reduced to just the Beatitudes.
When my brother and sister and I were growing up, for evening worship we joined our parents in committing to memory the morning watch text for the following day. We were expected to be able to recite it the next morning at worship. In my present family, we have been memorizing Psalm 1 and 23, and Isaiah 53 and 62. At the dinner table we begin by reciting in unison one of these chapters.
In ages past educators stressed memory at the expense of reason and logical thinking. When the mind is stored with Scripture both deep study and creative thinking are possible.
Care and Feeding of Guests
Thank you for the excellent article, “Don’t Be a Friendly Church” by Nathan Sarli (Aug. 28, 2014). He addressed what may be one of our greatest needs in our English-speaking churches in North America: personally connecting with guests at our churches. For many of us, going out of our way to befriend visitors rather than hanging out only with the members, will take getting out of our comfort zones, but we are talking about souls Christ died for. It was certainly not comfortable for Christ to be mocked, whipped, spat upon, and crucified. But our eternity was at stake.
To share the distinctive truths of God’s word without personally sharing the love of Christ puts people in a difficult spot. I especially appreciated the quote from Adrian Atkins, “If someone comes to our door and we can’t gather them in, there’s something wrong with us. . . . If we can’t love them as family, we have no business calling them out of the world.”
Two more suggestions: (1) Please do not ask guests to stand and identify themselves in the worship service or Sabbath school. For many, it takes a lot of courage just to walk through the door. To make them stand in the midst of strangers often embarrasses them. (2) Please do not have guests go first in the potluck line. While this may seem to be the courteous thing to do, it often puts guests sitting at a table with other guests. We should ask our members to take guests with them through the line, so they can sit with them and befriend them.
When we combine this beautiful truth we have with compassionate love of Christ for others, a love that takes time to personally get to know and minister to people, God will use us to turn this world upside down for Jesus in preparation for His coming.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Abortion and the Affordable Care Act
I write out of concern that a misconception is being perpetuated without any comment from the editors. The “morning after pill” is not an abortifacient. It is made up of progesterone, the hormone responsible for maintaining a pregnancy and commonly used to prevent early losses and preterm birth. The mechanism of action is that the dose of progesterone will come into the woman’s system before ovulation occurs and delay it for a few days so there is less possibility of the ovum encountering sperm within the woman’s reproductive tract and becoming fertilized. If conception has already occurred, the “morning after pill” causes no harm, just supports the pregnancy.
Thus there is no conflict between supporting women’s access to contraception and the moral stance of our church against abortion. Remember that contraception is defined as prevention of conception. Where no conception has occurred, no abortion is possible.
Blessed by Dixil
We are blessed by Dixil Rodríguez’ beautiful stories and inspiring words. Her columns are meaningful to our journey as Christians.
Rodríguez is by far our favorite author. In our Women’s Circle Sabbath school study group every Thursday, someone always brings the Adventist Review with her column. What a blessing. I had the pleasure of meeting her at my church in Plano, Texas, and I was simply taken aback at how young, humble, and charismatic she is.
God has led her to put pen and ink down for the inspiration of others, and I am grateful that she is part of our Adventist Review family. Please thank this young woman on my behalf. Her topics often come exactly when I need a reminder of God’s love.