I heard a few days ago that Samoa is struggling with a problem. The island nation of Samoa does a lot of commerce with New Zealand and Australia. But Samoa is on the east side of the International Date Line and Australia and New Zealand are on the west side. What that means is that when it is Friday in Samoa it is Saturday in Australia. And when it is Monday in New Zealand, it is still Sunday in Samoa. In essence, Samoa loses two work days when it interacts with countries to the west.
To resolve this, Samoa will soon be voting to move the International Date Line to its east, effectively changing its day of the week to correspond with that of Australia and New Zealand. That sounds like a valid and wise business decision on the surface. After that happens, there will be more days in the business week when Samoa can interact with its most valuable customers.
But it got me thinking. As a Seventh-day Adventist, I observe the seventh-day of the week, Saturday, as Sabbath. If Samoa goes through with the proposed change, what will Seventh-day Adventists–and Jews and other Sabbathkeepers, for that matter– in that nation do? Will they observe the new Saturday, which used to be Friday? Or will the continue to observe the original seventh-day according to their reckoning, regardless of what the country votes?
The extension of this is, of course, who decided what day of the week it was to begin with in Samoa? If people always observed Saturday as Saturday on Samoa, even though a few hundred miles to the west it was Sunday, then who made that original choice?
At this point, I don’t have an answer. In school–an Adventist school, mind you–they told us that the calendar had never been changed, and Saturday was always the seventh-day of the week. But that doesn’t consider that it isn’t the same day all the way around the world.
Something to think about.