Please be sure to read (or at least scroll) to the bottom of this update, to see important prayer requests, and announcements such as communion, potluck, and kids clubs’ social event, all happening this Sabbath!
Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
September 21st, 2022
“And the God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
Even though I’m working during the week at the conference office now, I’m grateful that I still get to help with food bank pickups once per week. The familiarity, the physical nature of the task (where I can let my mind wander, or think of other aspects of my work), and knowing I’m helping with a practical good in the community, all help me feel good about it.
Sometimes we get food given to us by the stores that are unfit to distribute. Both our local food bank training, as well as certified food handler procedures state that rotten food, food that hasn’t been properly refrigerated, or packaged food with broken seals can’t be distributed.
Each week we find a few leaky/sticky packages, a few pierced or sliced plastic-wraps, and an occasional punctured yogurt cup lid. We toss them in the trash, or, if they look good enough to eat ourselves, we can take them home, knowing the slight risk we run.
But I had a thought as I was arranging things a couple weeks back: in general, the fruits and vegetables we receive & distribute don’t have to be packaged. We handle while boxing and distributing items such as bananas, apples, citrus, onions, potatoes, etc. as is, and I began to ponder: why are there strict packaging rules on some things, but not on most of our produce?
I realized: it’s because the “packaging” God gave these fruits & veggies is sufficient to pass food-handler’s quality standards! An orange can roll in the dirt, but, since you un-peel it to eat it, it’s okay! A banana can be squashed and ugly externally, but still be nutritious & delicious inside! A carrot can be grimy from its growing place in the ground, but wash it off, and it’s fine for consumption.
Beyond that, nature’s packaging is informative: telling you both the type and quality of the food inside. Additionally, it’s biodegradable, causing no harm to the environment – can even be great for composing! Furthermore, peels often edible (though we may prefer not to), and can be used humorously (in the case of an orange peel being used as a funny smile, or a banana peel to make someone slip!)
To me, that’s just a microcosm of how God’s ways are better than man’s. Every system God made in the natural world, be it the weather cycle, the decomposition cycle of animals & plants alike (and even humans), the revolving nature of our solar system, is all recyclable and sustainable. In a word, brilliant!
We are the ones who really muck things up by making chemical reactions to produce things that don’t break down, can’t get re-used productively, and end-up causing much more long-term harm than the brief benefit they offer. I was just reading the other day about an industrial toxic waste dump site north of the Santa Ana river in Riverside that was used for about 20 years from the ‘60s to the early ‘80s. That site is desolate and untouchable now: the article said it will take some 500 million years for those toxins to neutralize!
So, sadly, we’ve exacerbated the needs for a new heavens* and a new earth. We’re gradually ruining the one we’ve got!
Praise the Lord, he had a contingency plan in place far before we knew we needed it. “Behold, I am making all things new!” is Jesus’ bold proclamation in the second-to-last chapter of the Bible (Rev. 21:5). And I say “Bring it, Lord Jesus!” Beyond being fascinated to observe the re-creation process, I wonder how similar or different the new creation will be to the one we know now? We’re given a few tantalizing clues, a ‘glimpse through the door-crack’ in Revelation 21 & 22, but, as C.S. Lewis says, God is just whetting our appetite to be eager for the full revealing of what he has in store.
So, the next time you bite into a piece of fruit (whether it’s the type that you remove the peel for, or bite through), think of God’s superior designs & mechanisms to man’s, and how there is much more to come!
May the Lord bless you & your families the remainder of your week.
Pr. Mark Tatum
* the reason the word “heavens” is pluralized in much of scripture is because in Bible times they had a concept of 3 levels of heaven: first is what we’d call sky, the blue part, the breathable ‘dome’ of our atmosphere (it may seem weird to us that they’d use the same word for our local sky as for God’s dwelling place, but Spanish and other languages still do it too), the second level would be what you can see at night: the planets, stars, and galaxies beyond our reach, and then the 3rd level would be God’s glorious dwelling place. This 3rd level is what’s referred to by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.