Nothing New Under the Sun

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun                                                                                                                                                                Ecclesiastes 1:9

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land                                                                                                                                                                  II Chronicles 7:14

There was an old comic strip called Calvin and Hobbes that ran in syndication for a number of years. It was really a classic comic- warm, cerebral, deep, and very funny. It featured a young boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes. Hobbes was quite real to Calvin, and they had engaging and philosophical conversations. Calvin was a precocious 6- year-old who was wise beyond his years, yet charmingly naïve. Hobbes was a philosopher in his own right, after all, he drew his name from 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes. When adults saw Hobbes, he was a stuffed tiger, Calvin saw him as his best friend.

One of the endearing yet maddening traits of Calvin was his belief that nothing in the world mattered prior to his birth. He felt that all of history had existed in order to bring him into existence. In my field, that is sometimes called “referential thinking.”

I got to thinking sometimes how we as a society sort of do the same thing. There is really nothing new under the sun, yet we tend to think that our experience is unique in history.

Our current COVID-19 experience was dwarfed by the 1918-19 “Spanish Flu” pandemic. Our nasty political climate, while disturbing and distasteful, had precedents in the 19th century mud slinging that was just as fierce, yet not quite as widely disseminated. In those days, there was no social media to trumpet the political trash we are currently exposed to daily.

The racial bigotry and discrimination of early America – even early 20th century America – was appalling. Any racial strife is horrible, but what we see today does not compare to our discouraging past record of treatment of Native Americans and African-Americans.

I bring this up so that we have some perspective on our current problems. Our problems are real, but they are not unique. If we have learned anything, it should be that our problems are what is common to our fallen nature. Our land needs healing, and it starts with our perspective and our attitude being healed.

Prayer: Lord, heal our hearts and heal our land, Amen

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