I’ve been reading modern church history, recently from primary sources including diaries as part of my work on a new book. I’ve been struck by how difficult it is for people to put their own lives into context as they live them. The history inside of which they live dominates their thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and interpretations. It is almost impossible for people to disconnect from their surroundings and view history as they live it.
We rarely have it occur to us that we are part of a current, a flow of people, events and even thought in all the moments of our lives. But we can act independent of that flow by making a choice.
I am astonished by the arrogance of office, position and wealth. When any person is put into a position in which their circumstances grant them advantages over their fellow man, it is hard to retain empathy for how well intended but terribly misinformed actions always affect others. Such things certainly do not make any person a bad man, but always reduces them from what they might have become.
It was essential to Christ’s life that He be born in obscurity, associated with the least of His society, be deprived of wealth and official power. He could not have accomplished His mission were He in a position to preside. He needed to be persecuted to fully awaken to the injustices men impose on others. Even so little a matter as tempting Him by interrogations designed to trip Him up made Him greater than He would have been had people deferred to His standing. He was challenged, not coddled. He grew from grace to grace until He was called the Son of God, because of the things which He suffered.
Almost without exception when a soul awakens to the historic context in which they live they immediately find themselves at odds with the surrounding culture. In this also the Lord was The Great Example.
On Thanksgiving I find myself appreciating our Lord and His difficult life all the more.