When I was a child, I lived in a little village where there’s an Adventist church. On Sabbaths, I’d see the Adventists go to church, neatly dressed, with Bibles in their hand. From our house, I’d hear beautiful music and sometimes I’d beg my mother to be allowed to go. I felt very shy to enter the church.
I must admit that I have a bit of a problem with “prayer.” There are so many slivers of truth about it that have become clichés and left my interest in the topic rather jaded. (God answers prayer with yes, no, or wait; Prayer doesn’t bring God down to us, it brings us up to Him; Prayer is the answer; Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us; Pray without ceasing; Seven days without prayer makes one weak.) I do not get spiritually excited about prayer breakfasts or prayer walks.
Recently I realised that much of my thinking on discipleship has been provoked by metaphors. While metaphors are inherently limited, each one has provided me with one or two facets of discipleship that have remained memorable—the vine of John 15 for intimacy and communion, the Sanctuary for understanding the relationship between being and doing, and the post-exilic brokenness of Jerusalem for the need of building transformational communities. Collectively they have helped to build a framework to help me think about my life as a disciple and discipler.
Scripture; what does this word bring to mind? Do you perhaps relate it to God’s Word or Bible study? Or perhaps you associate it with a time when you were eager to learn as much as you could about Jesus or perhaps upon your conversion the experience of reading the Bible for the first time. Or it could be a sense of not spending enough time reading Scripture or not deriving joy in doing so.
As a belief, the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the sanctuary offers a marvelous reading of the Hebraic worship system. This analysis reveals a glorious picture of Jesus Christ that was, among other ends, designed to prepare the Jewish, covenant people for His arrival; His First Coming. It did not accomplish this, for the most part, due to the intransigent disobedience and self-assuredness of the Israelites. Yet, today, it stands, for those Christians who will look, as a luminous architectural and temporal analogy to the work of God, in us, that Christ completes.