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Annual Council Diary—Sabbath


On a day as bright and crisp as a Fuji apple, children came to the Seventh-day Adventst Church headquarters for the Sabbath worship service. They came with their delegate parents, and one even cried during the service making it really seem like church, rather than another committee meeting.

In the back of the auditorium, Hope TV had a set where Brad Thorp, president of the channel, interviewed guests between Sabbath School and Church. In the front, a bountiful display of mums and pumpkins brought the beauty of autumn inside.

Promptly at 11 am, since this was being streamed live, the service began.

The Breath of Life Quartet’s powerful rendition of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” surprised me by sending goosebumps up my spine. G Vice President Ella Simmons prayed movingly for healing both individually and corporately, then closed by lengthily praying for President Wilson, the speaker of the day.

Unity was the real burden on Elder Wilson’s heart, but he began the sermon with the importance of the medical missionary work. Then he recounted the story in Matt.14 where Jesus had the disciples take him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee after the feeding of the 5000. He noted that the disciples couldn’t believe that Jesus was not taking advantage of the political movement that was ready to crown Him king at that moment. Disunity and anger grew among the disciples and Wilson included himself in the Biblical description of the self-willed disciples. Further into the story when a storm came up, he said the disciples thoughts were stormy and again noted that he had similar thoughts. “Self deception is what happened to the disciples,” he said. Then the storm took their minds off of themselves. They finally resigned themselves to die and then Jesus appeared to them and saved them.

Never doubt that God is in control, he said. He will bring us through. He closed his message with a ringing call for unity.

Unity in lifting up Christ,

Unity in reading the Bible,

Unity in sharing the Great Controversy,

Unite, unite, unite, he said.

In working together

In humble submission

In believing the SDA church is God’s church

In actively proclaiming the message.

To close he had us pray with the person next to us. Then, at his direction, we all held hands and sang the closing song, “We Have This Hope.”

Afterwards I introduced myself to the gentleman with the beautiful voice next to me with whom I had just been holding hands. “Are you a singing evangelist,” I asked. He smiled. Yes, he does sing. But he was more interested in telling me about his prayer ministry—the Metro New York Men’s Prayer Ministry, and their 24-hour a day service. I thought he said his name was Danny Glover, but I didn’t ask him about his acting career.

 I went in search of Elder Wilson to ask him to autograph a copy of his new book Almost Home: A Call to Revival and Reformation.

Photo: Ansel Oliver, Adventist News Network.

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