East of Bethel: Relighting the Family Altars
The Family Ministries Department is embarking on an initiative to relight the family altars in Adventist homes across the Cayman Islands.
In line with this goal, the Family Life Department has selected ¨East of Bethel¨ as the theme for that initiative, with Bethel representing the church and east of Bethel the home altar.
The East of Bethel Programme
“Our department has launched a drive to educate congregations across the three islands on the benefits to be derived from consistent family worship, not just at church, but particularly at the altars erected at our homes, East of Bethel, away from the church,” said Pastor Ivor Harry, Family Life Director.
“When the home sanctuaries are strong, the churches will be strengthened, marital challenges will be turned over to God for His healing, parenting issues will be better resolved, and our families will flourish again,” Pastor Harry said.
The Family Life Director anticipates announcing a programme of activities reminding families of the importance of the family altar and strengthening their commitment to its full and wide-scale restoration.
“This actual relighting will occur when families prayerfully submit to God and ask Him for strength and consistency in keeping the flames of worship burning on a daily basis,” said Family Life Director Pastor Ivor Harry.
Background to the East of Bethel Theme
Pastor Harry said that the department had chosen the theme East of Bethel because that is where Abraham erected the altar at which he and his household worshipped (Genesis 12: 8). Bethel literally means “House of God,” which is a fitting reference to the local Church, he said.
“We have found that too many families do all their worshiping at church. This wholesale dependence on Bethel (the church) is what has led so many to descend into a state of spiritual anemia,” Pastor Harry said. “Many families have lost a sense of what it means to ‘pray together’ at home.”
Family Worship Exalted in Scripture
Family worship is exalted in scripture, Pastor Harry explained, adding that Abraham’s example is lauded in Genesis 18:19 where God commends Abraham´s actions in leading his entire household after him in, among other things, worship.
Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 admonishes parents to impart knowledge of the Word of God to their children at home. The home is to be, for Christian families, a place of instruction in the word of God. Like the Jewish families of old, both the morning and evening sacrifice is to be offered on the family altars (Ex. 29: 38-39).
Like Joshua, every Adventist parent should declare, ¨’As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’¨
A programme of activities is to be announced.