Sunday, 10 July 2011

open after sabbath

my bro Steve looking fabulous!

For those of you who haven’t experienced life in the Adventist subculture, one of the distinguishing features of the belief structure is that which stems from the 4th Commandment “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work…. But the seventh day is the Sabbath.”

the best thing
It’s the best thing about Adventism because it has resulted in a culture of people who love to meet together on the 7th day of the week with always lots of social things going on.  However the flipside of this is the ‘no work’ idea.  Most Adventists don’t work on Saturdays – as in, paid employment – unless they belong to an emergency services type of work such as a doctor.  Their belief also supports the idea that if they themselves shouldn’t do anything on the Sabbath that resembles work, then they shouldn’t require other people to work either.  And this is where the concept of not paying for others to work on Sabbath kicks in.

It has a myriad of difficulties to maintain.  And as our modern world increases in its 24/7 availability of services, the Adventists are challenged regarding not working and ensuring you don’t make anybody else work on the Sabbath. At least this is what it was like when I was in the scene.  For example, getting houses built, and having builders work on Sabbath to build their houses, and many other conveniences which would make life simpler if they just paid someone on the Sabbath to do the work on the Sabbath.  Many won’t shop on a Saturday, or go to cafes or buy a paper.  Or watch TV.  

But it’s all changed now.  Now you can buy a ticket during the week for a concert which commences during Sabbath hours, and attend the concert guilt-free because you’ve not worked or paid for any work on the Sabbath.   Or, you can pay for the tickets after the concert has finished, which is after Sabbath!   They just rely on your honesty to do so.   

the concert
Meanwhile the concert was an intense experience of beauty and emotion as we are treated to world class musicians who play through historical and tragic Australian history.  The concert was worth double what I paid for the tickets.  And I’m privileged to have been at a premiere of new musical works at which two of the composers were present.  I heard the guns of Gallipoli, the fear and urgency of battle, explosions and grief.  I heard hope and rejuvenation.  I also lived through the experience of the bushfires in Victoria which obliterated Kinglake during December of 2009.  Fancy hearing all that in music – but it was there!  And most skilfully and powerfully expressed.  Well done National Australia Brass!

But I smile when I see that the lofty ideals of the Adventists to maintain the ‘no work’ concept sort of gets adapted to fit the situation.  When they want it to.  I, for one, am glad they are relaxing their ideals when it means they host such amazing musical feasts as we experienced last night.

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