Hear this, O elders, give ear, all the inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your ancestors? Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. – Joel 1:2-3 (NRSV)
* * *
Hearing many people speak of religion, you can easily get an impression it’s all ancient history. But remarkable things are happening all around us today, when we look with open eyes. It’s news to tell repeatedly.
Then there’s the matter of telling the story in its full context; scriptural passages used against homosexuality, for instance, take on a broader significance and we find that often sexual orientation is not the issue at all: the larger matters of hospitality, honesty, and social justice go unnoticed! Or when the Apostle Paul cautions children to obey their parents, he also warns parents not to vex their children – and guess which phrase usually goes unquoted!
Now what are our children telling us? And our children’s children saying? The good news runs in both directions!
* * *
For this I speak from good Experience, the Spirit’s first Work is, to convince of Sin, before it effect a Restoration, and this it doth even in all, though all do not regard it, it doth first shew them what is evil, and then it reproves them when they do evil; which Reproofs, if they be despised, cause the fierce Anger of the Lord to be kindled; and such as despise Wisdom’s Reproofs, which are the Way of Life, while they are so doing, they are treasuring up to themselves Wrath against the Day of Wrath, and Revelation of the righteous Judgment of God. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)