Pastor Mark’s Devotions, May 12

“Living History”

“He is not here, he has risen” Luke 24:6


Have you thought about the fact that we are “Living History”? History by definition is the study of past events, particularly in human affairs. But what we are living in right now, we know will be studied and examined for decades to come. Some people might even define their lives by these moments, having lived through this year, 2020.

 My dad was born in 1930. I can remember him talking about, The Great Depression of the 1930’s. He was born at the beginning of the depression. He was still a young boy when the United States entered World War 2, which formally ended the era of The Depression. But it didn’t end for my dad. When I was a young boy, I can remember my dad often referring to the fact that he was a “depression baby”. He used this phrase to define himself. When he was worried about money, debt, food scarcity, or job security, he would refer to the lasting effects of The Great Depression. The Depression left a lasting mark on this young boy. My dad used to explain that he took life so seriously and didn’t really know how to have much fun because of those depression years. Life was serious business that was passed down from his parents. He used to tell me that his dad picked up 4 ounces of beef steak, from the butcher, which was like shoe leather, each night for their family of four during those depression years. Hard work and responsibility were drummed into him at an early age. When he grew up, he definitely passed on those ideals to his children. He grew up with the attitude that if anything was to be accomplished in life, he, himself would have to make it happen. Financially, he was a lone ranger who had to find his way; and he worried about it.

Looking back at the history of my father, I would say that The Depression was THE most defining national event of his lifetime. The world moved on from the Depression after ten years. But in many ways, the ten year old boy did not move on from The Depression. It had made its mark upon this young boy and he would wrestle with it throughout his lifetime.

We are currently in the midst of “living history.” As this year, 2020, is playing out, how do you think it will influence us? Have you considered how these events might play out upon the psyche of our children and grandchildren? Will the next generation simply move on, as often parents think of their kids simply moving on from a divorce or a death or some other traumatic event? Is there the potential for a 10-year old boy or girl to attach attitudes and actions about life forming right now in the midst of this pandemic?  Will people live lives more protected, guarded, and cynical due to the effects of this pandemic? Perhaps the next generation will grow up with a low-grade level of PTSD.

Or perhaps we can help remove the level of high anxiety by the way that we live history today.

When children face highly traumatic events; so also, when soldiers return from traumatic battles, one helpful way people live through those experiences is to expose the trauma, talk about it, and appropriately frame it in greater context.

We have the opportunity to help this next generation not lose hope and help them see a future that is framed full of possibilities.

Certain markers in history have been said to have stolen certain qualities from a particular generation.

The Great Depression is said to have stolen the nation’s sense of security. JFK’s assassination is said to have stolen our nation’s sense of innocence. 911 is said to have stolen our nation’s sense of freedom. Where will 2020 line up on this list of loses?

Maybe we have the opportunity to frame this experience of 2020 in view of other pictures.

Most markers in a nation’s history seems to revolve around conflicts and wars. But when I was a boy, I watched a different moment in history. I was nine years old on July 20, 1969 when the Eagle landed and Neil Armstrong took the first footsteps upon the face of the moon. This event was a marker moment not drenched in pain and death. This moment in history catapulted a culture forward to dream impossible dreams. This moment in history highlighted a country coming together. This country sought to achieve something that seemed beyond the imagination. Unlike the 10 years of struggle and survival of the Depression in the 1930’s, this 10-year journey and achievement of Apollo 11, in the 1960’s, invigorated a generation to look beyond the stars.

As we attempt to put this coronavirus in context, could we perhaps frame it in a picture of togetherness? Can we talk to our children about all the heroes who are sacrificially serving one another for the greater good? There are pictures all around us of people reaching out to others in love. Let us hand those pictures on the walls of our minds.

Then to add more color and definition, where can our faith be painted onto the canvas? How can we expose the truth and discuss the events in context to our living Lord Jesus Christ?

Rather than a Picasso painting depicting a “Depression Baby” or “2020 Baby” with its detached shapes and figures, is there a way to discover a Rembrandt drawing of, “The Resurrection Baby.” Can we help this next generation find themselves and locate their identity in the One who is still living history? For this to happen, we must first locate ourselves within this identity. We must let go of past identities and definitions of ourselves that have found their way onto our canvas. Then we must expose, discuss, and frame our faith in the larger context of God’s plan. When we can see our lives clearly within the framework of God’s creation and salvation, that is the context to paint the picture for those others in our lives.  

Let us embrace this living history. Let us embrace Jesus Christ! May this living history become oral history, which is spoken of regularly. Let us share our thoughts, hearts, hurts, and faith in the God who is greater than any other moment in history.

God Bless You All!

Pastor Mark