Manasseh has the distinction of being the longest reigning and most evil of the kings of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel. During his reign, he turned the people away from God and followed the pagan practices of the nations that God had driven from the land of promise. The temple was defiled, and fell into disrepair. It was probably during this time that the book of the law was hidden in the temple to protect it from the evil king.
Years pass, Manasseh is succeeded by his son Amon, who in turn is followed by young Josiah. In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, he is restoring the temple, and the book of the law is found. When Josiah hears the words of the book, he tears his clothes as a sign that he is committed to being changed by the word of God. The rediscovery of the lost story leads to a reformation of Judah – a revival of sorts.
“The king went up to the house of the LORD, and with him went all the people of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the LORD.” (2 Kings 23:2 NRSV)
It is somewhat ironic that this story about the people rediscovering their story is rarely told. Yet it demonstrates the importance of finding ourselves in the biblical story. Too often our stories are hidden in plain sight, not locked behind the doors of the temple, but left unread on our bedside tables, or hidden beneath a layer of dust.
It is important for us as we grow in our love for God and neighbor to rediscover the story of our faith, and reflect on how God has been at work in our midst. And along with that story, to rediscover our identity as a church on a mission, as we reflect on our vows as members of Calvary United Methodist Church.
As I finish up my first year as pastor of Calvary, I want us to rediscover the stories that define us as a church and as a people. So, I’m inviting all members of Calvary to “re-Member” – a membership class for members. It will be an opportunity for us to rediscover our story as we re-Affirm our faith, re-Connect with our mission, and renew our membership vows. I hope you will plan to attend one of the classes, which will be offered at 8:45 a.m. on the last Sunday morning of May, June, July, and August.