History Connects Us
by John Wright
Four weeks ago, while at Ralph and Alice Brown's house, Ben Cushing Sr. said "history connects us." Ben was referring to our fiftieth anniversary Sunday that is coming up April 13th. That statement struck a chord with me as I was thinking about what unites us as members of the Church that has been meeting here for the last 50 years. Why does the past matter? Does the past or history of the human race really connect us? As members of the Human race are we really very different from one another? The Bible teaches us that we are all from one blood line descended from Adam and we are also descended from one of the sons of Noah, either Shem, Ham, or Japheth. This brief review of human history as it unfolded in scripture teaches us that it is not our humanity that bonds and connects us together, instead it is our creator who maintains a connection to us. God has always been involved in the affairs of men.
Now back to us at Southeastern Church of Christ, fifty years may not seem to be a very long time but in terms of our lifetime it is a huge deal. Any person who was forty years of age or older in 1964 has by now passed away. There are very few still with us that were adults when we moved from Irvington into our new building. One of the most obvious things we can immediately see is that we are connected by our mortality. History does, after all, teach us that we will die. I am not usually this morbid, and I am not defeated even though I am living in a body that continues to be in decline. History teaches us that we have a grand heritage passed on from one generation to the next. Our heritage is to love God and keep his commandments.
I do believe that history does connect us in so many ways that gives us a common bond somewhere eventually through the annals of time, but that is not what I want to explore here. I want to look at the greatest connection we have, the one with our loving God. At Southeastern we believe that God loves us with a supernatural love, and because he has loved us so completely we want to love our fellow man the same way God has loved us. Our history is one of service to one another and putting others before ourselves, it is a behavior we have learned from God himself and his son Jesus Christ. Mankind has an innate drive to find the God connection, often looking in all the wrong places. Regardless of our actions God is always near!
I want to look at a story in the Bible about one of God's most devoted followers who gave up on life, yet God did not give up on him. 1 Kings 19 tells us the story of how Elijah became very discouraged and he prayed to God that he should die saying "I am no better than my ancestors." God sent an Angel to strengthen him, and God sent him on a journey. When Elijah arrived at his destination God spoke to him and told Elijah to explain his behavior. Elijah explained he had done everything God had told him to do but he still was a failure. God said go outside for I am about to pass by, then a powerful wind tore the mountain apart, but the Lord was not in the wind. Then there was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a gentle whisper. The lesson I think Elijah needed to learn was doing great things in the name of the Lord was not the way to connect with God. Do not go looking for God in all the wrong places, instead he can be found within us where he has put his gentle whisper.
The gentle whisper of Jesus Christ says "come unto me all that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest, for my burden is easy and my yoke is light and you shall find rest unto your soul." The journey of mankind comes full circle through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Adam had an eternal friendship with God until the fall. Everyone who follows and obeys Jesus have a restored eternal friendship with God. History does connect us in a unique way, we cannot know where we are going until we know where and whose we have been.
Church, we need to learn the right lessons from history. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:9, " Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."