Nature of the Question. This is loaded question, but one that many faithful Church folk ask. Where do we look for purpose, inspiration, and meaning. It’s not an easy question and we will need to consider multiple points for our question. The main thing we will try to do is to define our pursuit now for a better future by looking back at the line drawn on the map of History and Scriptures. It is not a straight line, but it is going in a certain direction since the Holy Spirit, when followed has served as a compass in our practices and ethics as believers in Christ.
Judaism and the Old Testament is the first marker as how we view our history. If you were to look at the Jewish order of the Old Testament, you would note that it ends with the Chronicles. Read them. They are quite depressing at the end. Israel falls and is left wondering where in the world they will be and when God will rescue them from exile. To the Hebrews who canonized the Old Testament, this is a tragedy and will always be remembered as such.
And what people need to realize is that this is a good way to end some stories. It teaches us. It can be used to call a people back to their original purpose. Who would not want to take full opportunity to serve God when He has accepted your worship and loyalty, however broken it is.
Christianity is similar in their approach by how they view the Bible, New Testament, and Church History. We too have an order of the Old Testament which ends with the prophets who were calling people back to God and pointing to rescue. This rescue is what we recorded in the New Testament as Jesus, the Messiah who came to be injured and killed for his people. This type of Christ has been our model for the Church all throughout our history. We have not been perfect. Our line on the map is not straight by a long shot. But we are pursuing that model and seeking to stay in communion and covenant with that Christ. And we look to a future found in the last two chapters of Revelation; the future of healing and heaven and earth all at once.
Church is the place where the present looks to it’s past in order to define where it is going and the past looks to where the future is going to define itself. We note our Jewish roots and look to them for lessons. We know of our Christ, in whom all history hinges and expresses itself. We look to our history for examples of where we are going. We live these lessons today and express them in word and deed. And we look to a future in active anticipation of the returning King.
Where do you look for inspiration? Do you value the Spirit’s work in the history of God-following? How do you apply this to your present and future?
(Remember this is about where in time we look for guidance. If you are confused about WHO to look for guidance, always look Christ. Since today is Epiphany, it is fitting to see this as important. Seek Christ always, just like the wise men did, and you will find exactly what you need for life in God and in the Church.)