(an abridged version of yesterday’s message)
Imagine if you will:
It was in the year that Donald Trump was elected President. And after he walled off the entire United States to defend against foreign invaders, he launched a war against pizza. Many may remember that in the year that Sarah Palin was running for president, she visited New York and Trump took her for a slice of New York style pizza…which he ate with a knife and a fork. Everyone knows that no real New Yorker would ever eat a slice any way other than “the fold hold,” therefore Trump was mercilessly mocked by many a media outlet. For years, Trump nursed a grudge against the media and the pizza industry.
So it was that he issued a decree that all pizza parlors should be banned and all recipes for the pies be scrubbed from the Internet. Sure, there were some underground places that survived for awhile, but they eventually died out and after a couple of generations, everyone forgot about pizza. Sure, it would come up in a old movie or book from time to time, but it was just considered a relic of a bygone era…much like phones that were attached to the wall or cars that ran on gasoline.
Until one day, my great-great-grandaughter was going through a box of old things that she had inherited from her mother and found my cookbook….the one that contained my scribbles and magazine page pastes and clippings stuck here and there. And she found my recipe for the perfect pizza crust along with suggestions for toppings. On a lark, she decided to make it. She was so bowled over by the wonder of it all, that she immediately made it again, this time video taping the whole thing to post on YouTube. Before long, the video went viral and the whole world rediscovered pizza! Shops began popping up overnight. Students began getting better grades because there was new sustanence for study sessions. Sales of beer and red wine doubled. It was a pizza renaissance. People couldn’t believe they had gone so long without this wonderful concoction.
Of course, this is a ridiculous story. But in this world where information can be spread across the world in a matter of seconds, it’s difficult to imagine a world where information is hard to come by, but the written word was a rarity. A world where many people not only couldn’t read or write, but had never even seen a piece of paper (or parchment) with writing on it. It’s difficult for us to understand how the discovery of a lost scroll could be game changing for the people of Judah.
It was in that world that an extreme makeover was going on. If it had been in our day, Ty Pennington would have been on hand to lend his expertise and film the whole thing.
But it wasn’t in our day. It was in the 18th year of the reign of Josiah and the temple had fallen into disrepair and an effort was being made to restore it to it’s former splendor. And in the course of the renovations, a scroll was found. It turned out to be scriptures, part of God’s word to God’s people. And Josiah was so overwhelmed he tore his clothes in repentance. Then he sought the wisdom of the prophetess Huldah. And then, then he called together all the people–not just the priests and the leaders–but all the people and read to them the Word that had been discovered. Josiah made a promise in front of everyone to follow the commandments he had just read and the people did the same. Idols and altars to false God’s were torn down. There was a religious renaissance (which is even better than a pizza renaissance) because the Word of God had been discovered.
Today, the Holy Scriptures are more accessible to more people than they have ever been at any time in history. We have Bibles in our home, we can pull any number of translations up on our phones or tablets. We can read the Word of God anytime we want. And that’s a good thing…but the downside is that, because the Word is so readily available, we are apt to forget its power. To lose our sense of wonder when it comes to the Word of God. We can easily take it for granted.
So, this Advent, let’s recapture the wonder of the Word of God. Let’s be like Josiah in two ways: Josiah let the Word of God change him AND he shared the Word with others so that they might be changed as well.
Everyday during Advent, a scripture reading will be posted on this site and on our church Facebook page. I encourage you to take the time to read the passage and be present to the wonder of it. To allow the Word of God to change you. And then, share it. You can re-post it to your own FB page or Twitter or Instagram or SnapChat story. You could email it directly to someone you think needs to hear it today. You could call someone and share the Word. Or you could just live out the message of the day’s scripture in your everyday encounters.
This season, may we reclaim the wonder of the Word of God and may we share the wonder with the world.