Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's not always easy to tell what about today we'll remember tomorrow

Through the Bible in 90 Days: Day 79

Read: Acts 16:38-28:16

Verse that stood out:
When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive - Acts 25:18-19

This week Alyson asked me to pull some of her old children's books down from the attic for our daughter whose beginning to read with gusto. Among the eight boxes of books that I hoisted down from the attic happened to be one that contained all of my childhood yearbooks. It had been years since I'd looked through them. Slowly I flipped through the pages laughing at the inscriptions made by friends - comments about girls, and grades, and all manner of things that occupied our childhood minds. How such comments seemed to be what life was all about in those days! Now, I can hardly remember anything they reference.

No doubt at the same time as we were signing those yearbooks, significant things were happening in the world around us. History making things like the fall communism or world altering advances like the creation of the Internet. For the most part, such events go unmentioned. We were either unaware or unconcerned. Even those unmentioned historical events are probably not as significant in our personal lives as a myriad of other events that went unreported - the divorce of parents, the death of a friend, a simple conversation that opened up glorious new possibilities.

I'm reminded that the things we often think are most important in life, turn out to be not so monumental. The side stories, the overlooked moments, the unmentioned occasions, these can in turn become the most significant moments of all. As the book of Acts unfolds, the reader witnesses the birth of the church, really the birth of Christianity, a movement that would alter the world as we know it. At the time, however, it was a side story in the culture at large. Just a blip on the radar screen, really, in the lives of most, including the lives of the Roman officials like Felix, Festus, and Agrippa.

These three leaders make appearances in the book of Acts. In each case, they show about as much interest in the early Christians as we do in an evening TV show. They pay attention, briefly, but then they go to bed and forget what it is they just watched. In fact, by the next week, they probably won't remember it all, their memory of the encounter drowned out by a myriad of other more "important" events. While most of the other events that drew their attention have faded from history's collective memory, this side story of a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive? That story continues on.

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