An "Eighth Day" World
written by Rev Gary Heard

The church has decided to change its name: to "The Community of the Eighth Day". The symbolism and imagery is rich, impregnated with important insight, and
an indication of our future direction. This reflection expresses an aspect of that imagery. Watch for the church's emerging web presence.

I remember a news item run by one of the major networks many years ago on April Fools’ Day suggesting that the government was considering switching to “metric time”, which would mean a 20-hour day. Oblivious to the date on which the item was run, the station was inundated with calls wanting to know how to oppose this measure. It rivaled the response from a few years previous when Daylight Savings Time was introduced. It was a consideration which was outside people’s frames of reference, and therefore its implications not understood.

I met a similar response years later when suggesting that we needed to look at the constitution of the church, giving consideration to the issue of membership. The first response in the meeting came from a respected elderly gentleman, who simply indicated that if we were going to do away with membership (which was not being suggested), how would decisions be made in the church? Another example of something outside of someone’s frame of reference.

When we talk of an “Eighth Day Community” people look askance, wondering whether we have lost our collective marbles. It is an indication that we are suggesting something which is outside of the common realms of understanding, and in a sense, that is exactly what we are doing. In recognition that normal patterns of church and christian spirituality are not connecting with a people evidencing a deep spiritual desire, we affirm that we need to move “off the map” (or in our case, ‘off the calendar’!) in order to forge something different and new. Being the eighth day suggests connection with the previous seven, but also something which moves forward… fresh and vital, growing out of and extending that which was birthed in the first seven days.
When Jesus suggested in his teaching that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Mat 5:20) he was indicating the need to move forward, beyond what had already been set as the standard.

To move into an “Eighth Day” is to step into a deeper relationship with God, with life, and with others, and into a deeper understanding of ourselves in the purposes of God. Just as we aim to mature and grow as people with the passing of years, so we need to grow into an ‘eighth day’ relationship with God, surpassing that which we have previously experienced.

September 28, 2003
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