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Archive for January 14th, 2012

Centennial, the 1970s mini-series, is viewed in our house every ten years or so.  It is the movie version of James Michener’s novel and the re-telling of history as he thought it might have happened.   Many of the events are historically accurate, but the characters are fictional.  The loosely woven story has a strong message.  Knowing who we are and from where we come matters.  Each character in history plays a vital role in shaping the present and the future.  Remembering mistakes of the past help us to not repeat them

My brother and I have a special interest in the movie because three of our cousins played bit parts with actors Richard Chamberlain, Robert Conrad, and Lynn Redgrave.   There is humor in Centennial.  One easily identifies with this character or that.  There are heroes and villians.  Some powerful emotions are evoked by actions clearly defined as right or wrong.  Hopeful or deadly consequences result.

Centennial is more than just a good movie.  It’s evidence that modern people want a connection with their past.  Their heritage.  Their roots.  Then why, I wonder, do so many modern people reject their history as documented in the Bible? 

The events recorded in Scripture are documented by Jewish and non-Jewish historians.  The characters are real.  The tightly woven historical account has a strong message.  Knowing who we are and from where we come matters.  Adam told of his creation to his sons and grandsons and great-grandsons.  Living long in those days before the flood, a 500-year-old person would have a lot to tell!   Characters in the Old Testament played a vital role in shaping the present and the future.  The brothers of Joseph were so jealous they sold him into slavery, but Joseph became the most powerful man next to Pharoah in Egypt and rescued his family and a nation from famine.  Remembering mistakes of the past help us to not repeat them.  King David murdered so that he might take a fellow soldier’s wife as his own but, before confessing his sin, his bones wasted away and his strength was drained.

There is humor in the Old Testament.  One easily identifies with this character or that.  There are heroes and villians.  Some powerful emotions are evoked by actions that are clearly defined as right or wrong.  Life or death consequences result.

Some people say, “The New Testament speaks to me, but the Old is, well, just old.”  They may say, “I like the story about Jesus.  I like knowing I am loved and, if I sin, have the promise of forgiveness.  I like  knowing that Jesus was a friend of the poor.  That He healed the sick.”   But, every bit of recorded history in the Old Testament leads to and prepares for Jesus Christ.  Without the Old, there is no New.  

Most of us long for a connection to the past.  To know from where we come.  Why we are the way we are and do what we do.  To know hope in each new generation.  That is the reality of the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture.  It is the eye-witness account of men and women who knew the Promised Savior before and after His death and resurrection.  They told their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren… who told us. 

The Bible is His-story:  History.  Real people in history.  Their stories connected to ours.  As real characters connected to His story, we choose to pass it on —  or not.  To connect others to their history — or not.  To tell them who they are and why they matter — or not.

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