07 December 2020 | Scotland [Reneé Joseph]
Engaging. Intriguing. Edifying. Illuminating. These are all words that come to mind to describe the Scottish Mission Youth Day of Fellowship hosted on 21 November 2020. Though the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the face-to-face meeting that is hosted annually, the young people of the Scottish Mission demonstrated their resilience, and adaptation to “the new normal”, by eagerly logging on to the Zoom platform to connect with familiar faces they had missed seeing at church programmes throughout the lockdown.
A YouTube link also provided others with the opportunity to be blessed by the offerings of the day.
And what beautiful oblations they were! During the morning’s programme, joyful praise and soulful worship were married to heartfelt prayer and motivational testimonies. Young people openly shared about how their lives had been affected by the pandemic and how they had personally witnessed the faithfulness of God and experienced the outpouring of His abundant blessings, in spite of the challenges that the pandemic had brought. The meat of praise and thanksgiving, however, was glazed with the mild-mannered, yet chastening sermon from Professor Daniel Duda, Trans-European Division Education director. Using the Abrahamic prophecy, Professor Duda challenged listeners to confront subjective notions held as Adventist Christians and to analyse how these predispositions could contribute to spiritual stagnation, when, to the contrary, we are admonished to increase in wisdom and knowledge of the spiritual truths that the Holy Spirit desires to reveal to us. After this solid spiritual meal, youth were called to remove the blinders of these preconceived ideologies and to submit to the Holy Spirit, whose blinkers would direct them to present truth.
Armed with their arsenal of questions, the youth of the Scottish Mission returned during the afternoon session ready for action. Professor Duda took his place in the wicket, where he came into the direct line of fire from yorkers, bouncers and spinners bowled by the exceptional, philosophical, intellectual and quizzical Scottish Mission youth population, together with their regional and international friends. With great humility and expert management, Professor Duda received each delivery and artfully returned his responses in a manner that urged his audience to cast off their illusion of knowledge, based on traditional interpretations of prophecy, and to analyse varied angles and perspectives that have given rise to a multitude of conspiracy theories. Even when challenged by debate, Professor Duda remained undaunted and emphasised that if Adventist Christians remain cemented in their present knowledge and their haughtiness as a result of that knowledge, they would not only lose out on new revelations from the Holy Spirit but also on the privilege to be used as guiding lights to signal to others the way to salvation. Needless to say, such an outlook left many feeling uneasy but critically thinking. At the end of the session, which interestingly turned out to be too short to explore the lengths and breadths of the topic, Prophecy or Conspiracy: Unmasking Fake News, Pastor Claudiu Popescu, the Youth Sponsor of the Scottish Mission, was constrained to concede that Professor Duda had opened a Pandora’s box and would therefore need to return soon, and for a longer period, to respond to the clamouring of the youth to have the box closed once more.