Yesterday I reflected on the importance of local museums to keep the culture and history of an area alive. Some countries, such as Sweden, do this very well. Spiritually this is important too.
In the OT in Joshua Chapter 4 God ordered his people to collect 12 stones from the river bed as memorial to what he done for His people. In contrast, we have not been good at remembering our past in recent times. One can enter many modern churches and could nearly believe that faith started with them. The songs are new, there is no reference to the the traditions or history of the church. It is as though 2000 years of church history doesn’t exist. Hasn’t happened. Even the Bible is used as a lucky dip of quotes or examples of warm and fuzzy ideas. There is a spooky sense of being disembodied from the church universal.
We see this self centredness in a variety of other ways too. God is all about keeping me happy. Prophecies and Bible predictions are about now and our time in history and no thought is given to the context of the Bible passage. My pet peeve is the way Jeremiah 29:11 (He has plans to prosper you) is bandied about without any thought to why God said it and when. The modern attitude is: It feels good to me so I will apply it. We aren’t so glib with passages that promise punishment or disaster however – that won’t make me happy.
We need a trove of memories of how God has dealt with his people in the past – both from Biblical times and 2000 years of church history. This gives perspective, balance and puts God and His purposes in the centre of the picture and not ourselves.