2 Chronicles 35:18-19 (from the Message)
The Israelites celebrated the Passover , also known as the Feast of Unraised Bread, for seven days. The Passover hadn’t been celebrated like this since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings had done it. But Josiah, they priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were there that week, plus the citizens of Jerusalem - they did it. In the 18th year of the rule of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated.
Not since the days of Samuel the prophet. Not when David was king. Not when Uzziah was king. Not even when Hezekiah was king. Only Josiah. My favorite king. He was the grandson of Manasseh who was evil and evil in ways that were abominable. None of the prophets who dared speak against THAT king lived to tell about it and their writings are notably absent from the Hebrew canon. Josiah had the temple repaired, the Sabbath celebrated...and Passover. Like it had not been done...since the days of Samuel the prophet.
Of course, 2 Chronicles is just another version of Judean history. Who gets to write history? We all know it’s the victors...the ones who win. History is also written by...the intelligent; those who can put words to paper and do so in a manner that is readable. Perhaps THAT’s the reason that history is doomed to repeat itself. Too many can’t read what has been written.
I wonder how history will remember how we have been in these days? Will it see that we finally rose to the challenge and tamed a disease? Or will it reveal that we were forever divided, forced deeper into our suspicions, unable to deal with the truth, even when it was discovered? Will history show that we rose to a new understanding of love and that we welcomed those who were different from us? Who were of a different nationality? Even a different race? Will history tell that we overcame our basic humanity and rose to a new level of it? Will history be kind to the church and the prophets? Or will it reveal that the church was complicit in evil?
In a pandemic, some have had to re-invent themselves. They’ve had to work in different ways. Some have not been able to work at all. Some have had hard decisions to make as to which bills to pay. All that others have had to think about is how they can make their drives go farther on the golf course. The disparities have been legion. And yet here we are. Still trying. Still praying. Still hoping. Still going to bed and getting up with hope. Still dealing with problems and celebrating victories. In the words of that great theologian Gloria Gaynor:
Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive.
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive, hey...hey.
Or perhaps it will be the words of Paul Gerhardt as translated by John Wesley:
Give to the winds thy fears; Hope and be undismayed.
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears, God shall lift up thy head.
Let us in life, in death, thy steadfast truth declare,
And publish with our latest breath thy love and guardian care. Amen.
Pastor Rick Moser