Location: 29 Hope Road, Kingston 10
Date: Sabbath, June 13, 2009
Occasion/Event: "1st Divine Service" 7:45 a.m. - 9:30am.
1st service Messenger: Sherna Reid-Crosse
Theme: Religious Liberty Day
In celebration of religious liberties day, Andrews Memorial SDA Church had their Religious Liberty Director/Chair conduct the sermon.
While I was distracted during the message, Mrs. Reid-Crosse left me some words for further thought.
Once worship is forced and the freedom to worship according to conscience is suppressed, then all other liberties are under threat
It was religious liberty that gave rise to the founding of the United States and to the flourishing Protestant Church. Protestants fled England to the America's because they wanted the freedom to worship according to their conscience (White, "Seeking Freedom in a New World", p.158-163).
Thus in celebrating or having a memorial service for Religious Liberty, the Adventists are recognising their Protestant roots and celebrating the Protestant spirit that gave birth to United States of America and to the Reformation.
Apart from that realization, there is a fundamental truth - that Protestant Christians are the ones who fought for the rights of every man to worship as he chooses. Freedom of worship is the Protestant Christian's cause. Protestant should believe that G-d gave every man choice to worship him or rebel, but the choice is ultimately man's. No man must force him to worship. Thus, it is Protestant Christianity that should respect man's rights to voluntarily choose their path - the path to righteousness or unrighteousness.
This is the nature of G-d, who allows men to make their choices. The word of G-d states in Deuteronomy 30:19:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
The L-RD respects man's freedom. He respects our freedom to choose. When he made Adam and Eve, he set two trees for them to choose from, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (destruction) or the tree of Life. However, G-d in giving men choice tells the consequences of those choices. For Adam and Eve, if they chose to obey G-d then they would live and not die. The same principle operates today. Once men choose what pleases G-d, then G-d will reward them with life. If they choose to choose what he dislikes, he will bring upon them destruction.
"Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not." (Isaiah 65:12)
"I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not." (Isaiah 66:4)
If there is one great thing that I love about Jamaica, it is our freedom. Our freedom to worship, and spread/disseminate our ideas and perspectives on the streets. May G-d continue to bless our land, which is the true land of the free. For when you are spiritually free, then you are free indeed.
I support and defend the right to worship according to conscience.
White, E. G. "Seeking Freedom in a New World" The Great Controversy IADPA: (n.d.).