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A Push Back

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  Hebrews 13:7 

I’m not claiming that it was any kind of vision, but Saturday night as I was turning  in bed, somehow I remembered a Sunday school teacher I had as a boy.  Where did that slender fragment of memory come from, I wondered.  But before I could get back to sleep it occurred to me that I owed that teacher a lot.   With not a lot of education she taught me faithfully about Jesus.   She is gone now, but I remember her.

Then I woke early Sunday morning and thought, “This is All Saints Day.”  And I wondered if perhaps it was God in the night nudging me to remember on All Saints Day that Sunday School teacher who had faithfully served.   And not just to remember her but so many others like her who have helped me along the Way.  

And now it’s Monday morning and I’m wondering again  –   I’m wondering, “Why did we give more thought and preparation to Halloween, or “All Hallows Even” than we did to All Saints Day, or for Reformation Sunday, on the same day?

Why this inversion of values?  Why this trivialization of our godly heroes?  Is this the cost of being immersed in a postmodern culture that focuses more on ghost, darks spirits, and Bernie Madoff masks, than it does in celebrating greatness?  Is this the church yielding ground to a culture that makes celebrities of people, not for achievement, but only for being known? 

Thomas Carlyle, Scottish historian and writer, helps me a lot this morning as he writes:  “The history of mankind is the history of its great men: the important thing is to find these out, clean the dirt from them, and place them on their proper pedestals.” 

I want to push back against our culture, against its nihilism and coarsening of values.   I must find out the heroes and celebrate lives of faithfulness, duty and honor.  Likewise, today’s scripture text calls us to remember such lives, and to consider the “outcome of their way of life”.   Let us “imitate their faith” and dare to follow in their steps!

I am finding it helpful to reflect on the wisdom of the Apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus.  I pass on these sage words to you for your consideration. 

Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers in their generations.  The Lord apportioned to them great glory, his majesty from the beginning.  There were those who ruled in their kingdoms, and were men renowned for their powers, giving counsel by their understanding, and proclaiming prophecies; leaders of the people in their deliberations and in understanding of learning for the people, wise in their words  of instruction; those who composed musical tunes, and set forth verses in writing; rich men furnished with resources, living peaceably in their habitations – all these were honored in their generations, and were the glory of their times.  There are some of them who have left a name, so that men declare their praise.  And there are some who have no memorial, who have perished as though they had not lived; they have become as though they had not been born, and so have their children after them.  But these were men of mercy, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; their posterity will continue for ever, and their glory will not be blotted out.  Their bodies were buried in peace, and their name live to all generations.  Ecclesiasticus 44:1-10, 13-14

Let us lift up our praise of such people, give thanks for them, and follow hard after them.  The world doesn’t run on the celebrity of the day but rather on great souls such as these!

Tim Smith

 

       TUESDAY CLASSES AT THE        

FRANSICAN RENEWAL CENTER 

CLASSES THIS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, WILL BE IN THE ST. BARBARA ROOM

NEW CLASS BEGINS: Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. to Noon

  • ROMANS 8:  THE PINNACLE OF GRACE

11:00a.m. – Noon

Bible scholars have described the eighth chapter of Romans as “the mountain peak of Scripture,” and the “chapter of chapters for the Christian.”  Another commentator has said, “If Holy Scripture was a ring, and the Epistle to the Romans a precious stone, chapter eight would be the sparkling point of the jewel!”  You’re invited to join us in an exploration of Romans eight and the heights of God’s grace! 

  • EXPLORING ECCLESIASTES:  A BOOK FOR OUR TIME

7:00 P.M.  – 8:00 P.M     

The Book of Ecclesiastes is one of the Bible’s most enigmatic, yet most relevant and beautiful books.  Ecclesiastes asks the hard questions about the meaning of life, grief and loss, pleasure and profit, money and accumulation, and applies godly wisdom to everyday realities.  You’re invited to join us in this study of what is most important in life and how we can live more rich and fulfilling lives.

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