History, more than a Study

History has another dimension to it besides learning of the past. Just as important is an active role in the present. What happens now becomes then almost seamlessly. Then and now persists into later. There is a highly consequential misconception that it is the past that determines the present. Now, this is true to an extent, except a great multitude do not acknowledge being a part of the recent past, as in living history. The combination of the belief that history by nature is of random events invites a vicious cycle. History is neither random events nor sole human activity; it is the grace of God over His creation.

When people recognize that they too share in the past, there is usually more reflection about the impact made on others. On the other hand, when we observe ourselves more as products of the past, there is less attention to the influence of our character and state in life. For the former, the first priority tends to be addressing one’s own sins, no less potential evils. The latter more expect others to atone for theirs, neglecting heart and mind. In other words, those who connect in history through the present are more ready to repent (change their mind to virtue) of vice, so they can exercise the truth. Those who act in history according to the past, demand right living, while being the very oppression they supposedly hate, lies justified for their truth.

The world view of history as apparent orderly chaos is the endgame of both humanistic skepticism and optimism. Earthly utopia keeps running into speed bumps, history is random. Man and the environment are simply natural processes, things just happen in grand scheme of things. It was odd in graduate school to hear the timeline as anything goes, except we should be concerned about injustice. This was more bizarre from a self admittedly Marxist professor, whom posited that the institution of slavery did not end because of public moral shift but because industrial capitalism made it less economically feasible. Which can be argued, only she soon after expressed that capitalism helped maintain slavery before its formal abolition in the 1800s. The view of history being random allowed her to hold these confusing ideas as complementary.

I digress regarding the poor higher education. What is of important note is that hating sinners of the past more than your own sin (that is if you acknowledge it) maintains a strong lack of self awareness of being a villain. While maliciously handling the ‘issues’ of the present, one fails to recognize they are a bad guy of history, also contributing to the misery of the future. The French and Russian Revolutions, along with the succeeding tyrannies, are voluminous examples. The mainstream campaigns for LGBTQ+ rights and push for military interventions are more subtle, current measures for pseudo-liberty.

In this desperate cycle for wealth and/or pleasure, we can wholeheartedly believe history can be rewritten, at least in the present, to suit our ideal future. Such is the generational ambition to end the chaos of our heritage or figure out how to navigate the indifferent ebbs and flows of time. Well, no need to fear. The cliché of it is “His Story” rings true. God, the resurrected Christ, is in control of history. Oh, the objections to His authority! So many would rather have reality absent of Him, our destinies dependent on our best foot forward. No, thank you, I rely on the Lord’s will, not our centuries of ongoing folly. My concluding question is this: “Are you a Cain or Abel in the Story?”

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent [the body], is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation [resurrection] which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked [only dead]. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.”

2 Corinthians 5:1-11

Memorial Day: Shadows of War

The last breath, the last drop of blood. What was on your mind before the light dimmed?

The final pulse comes in the mystery of silence or the violent orchestra of battle.

Fear, valor, anxiety, excitement, confusion – the final moment comes like a master thief.

Death is swift for some, ever sluggish for many others. Would any of us take their place?

 

To those who were conscripted – may God redeem us from your patriotic execution.

To those who volunteered – may the Lord make good of your sacrifice, not purely in vain.

We do not know all the evils that shroud the shadows of war. Still, let us honor the fallen.

May we be vigilant of defense, as well as lies from those who treat mortals as mammon.

“Whoever observes a command knows no harm, and the wise heart knows times and judgments.” Yes, there is a time and a judgment for everything. But it is a great evil for mortals that they are ignorant of what is to come; for who will make known to them how it will be? No one is master of the breath of life so as to retain it, and none has mastery of the day of death. There is no exemption in wartime, nor does wickedness deliver those who practice it. All these things I saw and I applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun, while one person tyrannizes over another for harm.

10 Meanwhile I saw the wicked buried. They would come and go from the holy place. But those were forgotten in the city who had acted justly. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not promptly executed, the human heart is filled with the desire to commit evil— 12because the sinner does evil a hundred times and survives. Though indeed I know that it shall be well with those who fear God, for their reverence toward him; 13 and that it shall not be well with the wicked, who shall not prolong their shadowy days, for their lack of reverence toward God.

Ecclesiastes 8:5-13