The internet makes researching family trees relatively easy. So many people are interested in their family stories Ancestry.com predicts it will earn $280 million in 2010. Ancestry.com is capitalizing on more than a fad, however. The industrial revolution and modern transportation enabled people to move away from their places of birth. Rootlessness is epidemic. Sadly even with speed-of-sound transportation and speed-of-light communication we’re losing connectedness with family and family histories.
Before I was born, my parents moved 200 miles north from Trinidad, CO to Denver, looking for work. We quit driving back down for visits in the late 60s. Over the years, as my grandparents and parents passed away, I lost touch with my family, my history. I now know very little about my grandparents and nothing before them.
Yet I know I am who I am in part because of who they were. Trouble is I don’t know who they were. When my mother passed away in 2003, I imagined myself as a small boat drifting out to sea, having been cut loose from the dock. I know I have a history, but don’t know what it is, and worse, don’t know how to carry it into the future.
Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.
TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)
1 Kings 5:1-6:38
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
1 Kings 5:1-6:38: Solomon’s Temple was a wonder. Its splendor spoke to how powerful Israel under David had become. The Temple and its courts covered as much ground as a modern shopping mall. Yet this is the top of the slide. The nation is so safe and comfortable that even their wise king begins to forget who got them there: God. Pride comes before a fall.
Psalm 127:1-5: Aristotle posited the concept of “the unmoved mover.” This is the power that first caused the universe and set it in motion. Later Paul Tillich called this our “ground of being.” The psalmist simply says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Sometimes a metaphor spun by the poet tells a truth better than any scientist or philosopher. God is the beginning and end. If we try to move or live without him, we will fail. Maybe not instantly, but eventually.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
The Bible is many things. Some see it as a life instruction manual. There’s even an inane acronym for this: B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). Others treat the Bible as a theological textbook. But what we don’t recognize is that the Bible is a family history: a narrative of God’s ongoing interaction with his sons and daughters.
In Acts chapter 7 Stephan continues the narrative as a defense against the accusations of the Jewish religious leaders. A strange defense. Why do they stone him in the end?
Because Stephan takes his place in a long line of God’s storytellers who, at critical points in time, add their present story to God’s past interaction. Past storytellers added Isaac to Abraham and Joseph to Jacob and David to Samuel. Stephan adds Jesus to them all.
The religious leaders knew what Stephan was about, validating Jesus by connecting him to a long line of people who carried God’s redemption from the past into the present. Stephen declares Jesus the denouement, the final resolution to a dramatic thousand year-old narrative, the amen.
What does this mean for us today? Though Jesus is the final resolution, the story is not over. God wants to add our stories to his story. Just as God added each new generation to the narrative, when they stepped into the story of his redemption, so too can we.
We have not moved too far from our family home, nor are we boats loosed from the docks and adrift. We have not lost touch with our true family. We are connected through our brother Jesus to our Father, God.
Ancestry.com mirrors how much many of us need to be connected to our past. But we don’t need Ancestry.com tell us who we are truly connected to. It is written on every page of this book we call the Bible.
- Which passage spoke to you and why?
- Has God connected you to his story?
- If so, when and how?
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