4 November 2018  |

Dear Adventist Today:

Here in South Queensland Conference, our ministers, keepers of the flock, are being asked to meet together today to consider the conundrum posed by the meetings and conformity issues from Battle Creek. As our treasured Ellen White considered the breezes from this same village to have little importance in God’s work ‘down under’, so it is that the constituency of this conference are encouraging the keepers to consider firstly the flock under their care.

During Sabbath service this week, our ‘keeper of the flock’ mentioned (in relation to above conference request) that birds need two wings to fly.

Being as the word ‘flock’ can be attributed to many different creatures, not just sheep, may I offer the following?

Our hearts ache for the pressure the ‘keepers’ are being asked to undergo. We chickens, pullets, laying hens, cockerels,  bantams and roosters, can feel the fear spreading throughout the flock. And it is a spreading fear of the unknown, even of cannibalism (yes, some caged birds do attack and eat other members of the same flock!).

While yearning for unity, we must not yearn that everyone will think and act as we do, just because we are ‘right’. But we do need to respect each person’s individuality, much of which is a result of their choices in life, and how life has treated them. If however they have asked God to lead in their lives, and God has accepted their gift of time and given them talents/spiritual gifts, do we dare to dive into the flock and pluck their feathers? Do we dare to clip their wings, cage them, de-beak them and tell them they must conform? All must lay eggs the same size to fit into the supermarket cartons? All must fatten on the same food in preparation for the cook pot?

Unity is not conformity. By making good choices and use of each person’s unique gifts and abilities to shine and work for Jesus, in our church flock, for the good of the entire free range family, or by allowing the Creator of the flock to use His chickens as He wills and calls, we can be absolutely sure we are under His wings.

Please, remember Psalm 91:4

He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions,
And under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and a wall.

Thank you, Adventist Today team. We are with you in prayer.

Heather Hagen (not a Facebook devotee)
Capalaba church, Brisbane

PS: When I see my teenage grand-children (both pullets and cockerels) being encouraged to give messages on Sabbath morning, and study the scriptures with younger chickens, how my heart gives thanks!

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