Nowadays, it is remarkable to observe, mainly on social networks, a movement known as “Mesa Posta” has been gaining supporters. According to the blog Organiza Top, “table setting is nothing more than the act of organizing elements such as plates, cutlery, and glasses on the table in order to present a meal to your guests.… This habit can be put into practice at any meal, whether for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon coffee, or dinner. A table set is a sign of good reception.”
Seventh-day Adventists are known to be welcoming people who often organize good meals for their guests. In 2020, the South American Division of Seventh-day Adventists launched, through Women’s Ministries, “The Sabbath Experience” project. The idea, according to Marília Dantas, director of the department’s ministry for the states of Bahia and Sergipe, is that families prepare in a special way to receive the Sabbath. Thus, they should provide family members with the opportunity to develop the habit of preparing the dining table on Sabbaths in a different way from other days of the week, considering its importance for the union of the home.
“The project has been going on since last year. However, this year we focused on the 10 Days of Prayer. The idea was to invite families to prepare in a special way for the sunset on the penultimate day of the 10 Days of Prayer, but unfortunately, it did not happen as we expected because it was exactly when the situation of the semi-lockdown occurred here in Bahia. But even so, many families still did it”, explains Marília.
In the folder made by the church’s South American headquarters, the importance of preparing for the Sabbath is highlighted, followed by a series of tips. “The purpose of this project is to help church families to rethink their relational habits around the meal table. And, more specifically, that they develop (or maintain) the custom of making it a pleasant experience on the most special day of the week: Sabbath”, details the leader.
For Marília, the importance of the initiative is not only focused on women, but the church as a whole must be involved. “The idea of the Sabbath experience is to strengthen our identity as Seventh-day Adventists, strengthening the principle of keeping the Sabbath,” she says.
Another material made to attend this project was developed by the Adventist headquarters for Bahia and Sergipe, the União Leste Brasileira. It is an invitation card to deliver and invite friends who visit the local churches to join in this experience. “The idea is that this card can be used for the entire year. The project did not happen now as we planned, the way it should be done because of the restrictions, but at any time of the year we can resume it. We’re just getting started. We have a lot to learn and do”, adds Marília.
For Lucicleia Alves, from Eunápolis, in the south of Bahia, participating in the project and receiving Sabbath as a family in a special way was more than a blessing. “For the honor and glory of the Lord, I was able to bring my family together. My son, Alexandre, came to do the sunset service with us. We are very happy. Ten years ago, he left the ways of the Lord and does not attend church anymore, and I look forward to his return”, Alves exclaims. She has been an Adventist for 25 years. Her comment was made on the official Facebook page of the Adventist headquarters for Bahia and Sergipe, and it was followed by a plea: “Help us in prayer”.
Base Life Teen Joins the Project
Adolescents were also involved in this preparation experience for the Sabbath. The proposal was to launch, as a monthly challenge of the Base Life Teen (a community of teenagers who meet weekly), “The Sabbath Experience” project so they would receive the proposal with a lot of excitement. This is what Eliane Lopes, the area leader for the two states, tells us.
“The bases got organized, chose a Friday in February for the meeting, prepared a beautiful dining table, and invited non-Adventist friends. All this to show how good it is to worship the Creator on His holy day. The experience was a success. For many, it was the first time that they participated in the special Sabbath service. And, for others, it was a confirmation of the joy of receiving the Sabbath as the special day”, explains Lopes.
According to Maria Aparecida dos Santos, director of the Base Consagra Teen in Itabuna, in the south of Bahia, the experience they had in this challenge of the Sabbath sunset impacted the lives of teenagers. She stresses that one of the members reported the experience of Edicleia Matos, who was recently baptized and invited her son, David Alves, who still does not attend church, to participate in the sunset service that day.
“In the service, I talked about keeping the Sabbath, why we do it, and when it was God who instituted it and later gave it in the form of a commandment. I asked some questions about God: Was it because He gets tired? Why then did he institute that day? [David] took part in Bible questioning activities, and his mother told us that he came home impressed about the Sabbath, and then told his older brother that he is going to keep the Sabbath because it is written in the Bible,” Aparecida dos Santos said. The young guest is already participating in the class of teenagers with Base Consagra Teen and online activities.
Lopes also emphasizes there was a special highlight for the Teen Eloah Base in the municipality of Itatiaia, close to the Capim Grosso region in Bahia. “They chose a place in the middle of nature to receive the Sabbath”, she points out.
This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site