Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
- Weekly Pastoral Message -

"Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42

Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 31st January 1999

From the Pastor: Holiday or Holy Day? V

"On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD." Leviticus 23:34

One feature of holiday time each summer which many find exciting is camping. Over the past fifty years since the first caravans arrived on the scene they have become more and more a portable luxury, a home away from home. However there are still others who reject that approach to camping and prefer the rougher existence of a tent and living out of backpacks and sleeping on stretchers or roll-up mats. Of course, the latter are more usually the bushwalking fraternity who like mobility and to see things well off the standard tourist destinations. Well, each to his own, we might tend to say.

How would you like, then, to have a week's worth of a kind of camping prescribed for every autumn as part of a religious festival? And no caravans, nor even tents, but handmade shelters made from palm branches and other leafy trees (Leviticus 23:40)! Does this sound like the treehouses or huts you used to make when you were very young? No, it was part of a commemoration of the time Israel spent in the wilderness when that type of dwelling was their only shelter from the harsh sun and the hot sand. It was to drive home the point that Israel, as God's people, were still only travellers in this world: they were en route to a better country, a better city (1 Chronicles 29:15; Hebrews 11:16), a principle which still abides with even greater force under the Gospel.

Hence, just as a camper is only a temporary resident of the ground where he camps, so Christians are merely campers in this world. Not that it is a holiday or picnic; on the contrary, it is where the world hates us and treats us as scum (John 15:19; 1 Corinthians 4:13). That is why we desire a better country, a heavenly one. The paradox is that the rest, the enjoyment, will come only when the camping trip is over. Alas, however, there are too many who want to fuse them together and would teach people so. That means abdicating the battle with the world and sin; it means a caravan holiday in the world rather than living in rough booths in the wilderness (cf. Revelation 12:14). Which describes your Christian life?

This is to be the last of our weekly pastoral messages by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite as Murray finishes in this pastorate today (31st January 1999). Thank you very much Murray for all your messages from all your readers.


Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
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