19 April 2019 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
Last Sabbath our pastor got up and announced that on Easter Sunday the church would have a sunrise service at the church to honor Christ’s resurrection, followed by breakfast. I immediately felt a chill of terror run through my body. I couldn’t believe that my Seventh-day Adventist Church was going to worship on Sunday! We are told that this is how Sunday worship got started in the first place. Inasmuch as we know that the final test is going to be the day of worship, it has made me feel like we are on the verge of persecution! This is right out of the Vatican’s playbook! The pastor said it was an outreach for the people in the community, to invite the Easter crowd into our church, but it is too accurate to the prophecies to believe that’s the real reason. I got up and rushed out of church, and I don’t know if I can ever return.
Signed, Shocked and Horrified
I’m sorry you got blindsided by this announcement. No one wants to be shocked and horrified at church. I wish you’d known sooner, so you could have talked to your pastor about it.
Before you abandon your congregation, though, pray for a calm heart, and think it over a bit.
I will not challenge your interpretation of the end-time prophecies, but I will ask you this: if the resurrection of Jesus from death to life really is the heart and soul of our faith—Revelation, the source of our prophecies, mentions it many times—then is it wrong to honor it?
One of the powerful passages of Scripture for Aunt Sevvy is this one from I Corinthians 15:14: “And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.” On Easter, Aunty remembers her dear, loving grandma and grandpa, an uncle who died fighting for our country, and a baby who never drew breath. Plus countless precious friends. And I picture myself gathered at the resurrection and embracing those dear people when they come forth from the grave. And, holding in my arms again that infant who never got to grow up.
Why think about Catholics when you can contemplate reuniting with loved ones? Why give this celebration of hope over to other Christians, while we stay home and do yard work? Should we shun things just because Catholics do them? Catholic churches help people; should we refuse to help people just because Catholics do?
As for Easter, Ellen White never mentions the word herself (though in The Great Controversy she quotes another author who uses it in passing.) But she spends many, many pages on Jesus Christ. “Of all professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ,” she writes (Evangelism, p. 188).
It seems to Aunt Sevvy that if Jesus is front and center in the celebration, as it sounds like your pastor is doing, there shouldn’t be any fear about celebrating a glorious event such as Jesus’ conquering death. Your pastor isn’t starting regular services on Sundays. Neither is this a traditional type of service, as Aunt Sevvy assumes you do not normally have church services at sunrise.
And this could be a real service to the community. Think about how packed most churches are on Sunday morning. What if someone who only does church once a year comes to yours, and likes it?
If you are uneasy about it, Aunt Sevvy suggests you speak to your pastor about your fears. I’m sure he or she would understand if you spent Sunday at home.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.