As Stephen stood before the crowd that would eventually kill him, he had one last chance to convince them that Jesus was truly the Messiah for whom they had been waiting. And so he reminded them of their identity. He took them back to the beginning, to Abraham. And as he traced their history, he tried to remind them of who they were not just in the current heat of the moment, but who they were as a people.
I wonder sometimes if we need this same reminder. I wonder if we are so enamored, along with the rest of our society, with the “now” that we forget who we were. I hear students of history sigh deeply as they quote the famous maxim, “to ignore the past is to be doomed to repeat it”.
We begin with Christ, His death and resurrection. We begin with Swedish conventicles. We begin at a meeting in Swede Bend, IA in 1885. We begin 41 years ago with a vision to plant a church in Libertyville, IL. We each begin at our conversion.
It is too easy to get wrapped up in the issues and anger of the day. We have to discipline ourselves to let the emotions wash over us, acknowledge them, but not let them dictate our actions. We have to be driven by our theology, grown and cultivated from the beginning and through time. We, like the Sanhedrin of Stephen’s day, must remember who we are.