Recently, someone shared an article with me. It centered on church politics, bureaucracy and an ongoing argument about inclusion. Yes, it was all the usual talking points you’re probably familiar with. The only thing that stood out was that the article is almost sixty years old.
Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. What you and I face today may be new to us. But God has carried the Church through it all before. The names and the superficial issues may be different. Underneath is the constant, familiar struggle of humanity. So, it’s to our benefit that we learn our history in order to learn from our history. Mark Twain said, “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” After reading that article, I’d say the church is rhyming again.
Now, history’s rhyming scheme seems to always be a bad thing. It almost always feels like a here-we-go-again moment. Like we didn’t learn our lesson before. But what if the rhyme is good?
Speaking of the church, what if we’re living into a faithful model of ministry we’ve seen before? In that light, there is a lot of history worth repeating. Think of the revivals of generations past. Or what of the great personal examples of faithfulness we know? As we learn what other saints have done, in spite of or in response to their circumstances, we can find our way of doing the same.
I’ve heard Christians say there can be no revival today. There’s too much evil in the world for that to happen. I can’t help but think of Romans 12:21 as a response: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. That’s what revival did in our history. People of faith saw God’s way as the better way and they stuck to it.
Evil is not new and it is not anymore abundant today than it ever has been. So, in our chance at history, may we look for the path of life that leads upward. God help us to learn from where we’ve been to sense where God is leading. And may we hold fast to God’s way and who we are as God’s people so we can leave a good rhyme.