Only two passages for today, mostly because the second is quite long. The first passage was the gospel passage at the Eastern Rite church I attended today. It is from the Gospel of Mark:
34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? 37 For what can a man give in return for his life? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
This passage resonated with me because of this particular language: “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words.” The sad truth is that there are many “Christians” these days who are ashamed of Jesus. Even more so, they are ashamed of what he and his followers taught. Rather than be bold in their faith, they are meek in it. And rather than be meek in themselves, they are bold in themselves. These last few years have been truly eye-opening for me. I’ve witnessed this phenomena- being ashamed of the faith, all around me. Heck, I’ve manifested it myself in the past. Truly, it is a great pestilence that has infected much of the body of Christ, and is one that needs to be treated swiftly, and fiercely.
The second passage today comes from the Second Book of Kings:
3 In the eighteenth year of King Josi′ah, the king sent Shaphan the son of Azali′ah, son of Meshul′lam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying, 4 “Go up to Hilki′ah the high priest, that he may reckon the amount of the money which has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people; 5 and let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord; and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house, 6 that is, to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons, as well as for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the house. 7 But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money which is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”
8 And Hilki′ah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the book of the law[a] in the house of the Lord.” And Hilki′ah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9 And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilki′ah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.
11 And when the king heard the words of the book of the law, he rent his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilki′ah the priest, and Ahi′kam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micai′ah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asai′ah the king’s servant, saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
14 So Hilki′ah the priest, and Ahi′kam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asai′ah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter); and they talked with her. 15 And she said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. 18 But as to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words which you have heard, 19 because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place, and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have rent your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, says the Lord. 20 Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.’” And they brought back word to the king.
(2 Kings 22:3-20)
This passage moved me greatly when I re-read it recently. I’m working on a post based on it, and wanted to quote it at length so that I could link to it from that post when it finally goes live. While I will discuss it more, the major effect it had on me was to remind me of how much has been forgotten. So much of the faith as been set aside, or ignored, or even trashed, in recent times. Much like the book of the law, it was buried away.