How History Comes Alive


“Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day” (Psalm 81:3).

Israel's celebrations were to be tributes to a loving God. Their religious holidays were based on historical reference points, especially their slavery in Egypt (vv. 5-6) and survival in a barren wilderness (v.7).

Over time, this glorious history became academic and perfunctory. But holidays need history or they will lose their power to inspire. To counteract this tendency, Asaph conjures images from the past, as when their ancestors were released from heavy burdens and menial work (v. 6). Short of a time machine, a little sanctified imagination is the next best thing to being there. After all, we should learn history to leap into it. So be creative.

Joseph Bayly, in his poem, Psalm of Laughter for Easter, creatively compared history's greatest event with life's happiest moments. To jump-start his joy, he imagined the following:

Christ died and rose and lives. Laugh like a woman who holds her first baby. Our enemy death will soon be destroyed. Laugh like a man who finds he doesn't have cancer.

It's true! A little imagination makes history come alive.

Dear Lord, sanctify my imagination as I study your Word and let it produce celebrations of joy. In Jesus' name, Amen.