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In recent weeks back home in Northern Ireland the news has been dominated by the results of the most expensive and longest running public inquiry in UK history. The Saville Inquiry  recently concluded twelve years of investigation into the events of 30th January 1972, which resulted in the deaths of 13 protesters, killed by the British Army.
This quarter’s studies, “Redemption in Romans,” assert that it is “extremely important” to understand the letter’s historical context, and, imaginatively, to “go back in time, transport ourselves to Rome, become members of the congregation there, and then, as first century church members, listen to Paul”. 
While the quarterly’s author maintains that the historical context creates the setting for textual interpretation, the quarterly immediately turns to Paul’s situation and his reasons for writing. The audience reception reading is simply discarded.
Would it make a difference to us if, when Jesus healed people, he commended them on their optimism rather than their faith? We know these two terms are similar in that they both express positive expectations about the future; but there are differences partially captured by the artist for this Sabbath School quarterly. The figure for lesson six on Faith and Healing appears to be in thoughtful meditation or prayer. The open palms and serene expression indicate a receptive spirit and acceptance of God’s will. The figure for lesson eleven on Optimism and Healing is quite a contrast.
Albert Camus, the 1957 Nobel laureate in literature, said, “Integrity has no need of rules.”  These few words portray an instinctive sense of honoring one’s own values without the need of regulatory governance to direct one’s actions. Integrity itself implies wholeness, completeness, a perfect condition, soundness, and uncorrupted virtue. If one applies Camus’ words and the implications of integrity as they relate to health, inspiring ideas emerge.
How could an aspect of Adventism be central in its early days and seemingly irrelevant today? The question is not easily answered, but the aspect I have in mind is easily identified. Temperance, once described by Adventist pioneer Ellen G. White as “my favorite topic,” is so passé now that the word itself is seldom used—and when it is, we are most likely to confuse it with concepts of moderation in diet and the quirks of nineteenth-century enthusiasts like J.H. Kellogg.
In the context of this quarter’s lessons focused on physical health, Gen. 2:7's teaching that God created human beings by use of His breath, rather than only speaking us into existence, is a fascinating insight. Breath was God’s first gift directly to human beings. Having the breath of life has remained primary ever since the Garden of Eden. Just holding our breath for a couple of minutes demonstrates plainly that without sufficient oxygen, we become desperate for air.
This week's lesson topic, “Rest and Restoration”, is buttressed by texts from Genesis regarding man's responsibility to care for the Garden; from Exodus regarding the Sabbath commandment; from Mark regarding Jesus' command to “Rest a while”; and most of all from Christ's famous invitation of Matthew 11:28-30, to “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
I was intrigued that this week’s lesson didn’t focus on the 5th chapter of the epistle of James, where Our Lord’s brother provides one of the strongest bases for faith healing. As this quarter’s lesson is bringing out well, “healing” can have many dimensions! Faith can bring richer life for the Church as well as for the individual Christian. And this is one of the points made by St James, and so I’m going to do what the lesson didn’t, and focus on his epistle.