1 Chronicles 30 (click here)
And many people came together in Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very great assembly. They set to work and removed the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for burning incense they took away and threw into the brook Kidron.
So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 30:13-14 and 26)
The Kingdom of God’s people had long been divided.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel barely even exited after its decimation by Assyria… and the Southern Kingdom of Judah was anything but a faithful people.
Then the Lord moved in the reign of Hezekiah.
An invitation was extended to anyone left in Israel to reunite with Judah around the feast of the Passover. As many gathered in unity, focusing on the sacrifice love of God in saving his people from Egypt so long ago…an amazing thing began to happen.
The people tore down their pagan altars, repented, and returned to the Lord. They literally drowned their pagan ways by throwing their former altars in to the brook Kidron. Joy erupted amongst a long-divided people as they were reunited before their God!
We have seen that idolatry destroys community (Exodus 32 – Listen here). When we make a god who is all about us, we will try to create a community that is also all about us. If corrupt worship corrupts community… it makes sense that purified worship would lead to purified community.
That is exactly what unfolds in 2 Chronicles 30! As the people return to the Lord, they reunite! As they worship, they welcome one another! As they repent of their idolatry, they are reconciled to God and to one another.
Could it be that the cure for our communities begins with worship? Reconciliation with one another begins with reconciliation to God. Just as the Jewish people gazed upon the sacrificial love of God through Passover, we gaze upon his sacrificial love in the cross. In light of such sacrificial for our forgiveness and reconciliation, how could we ever refuse forgiveness to others who have not sinned against us nearly to the extent we have sinned against God.
In beholding the love of Christ extended to us in the cross, our hearts are filled with love to extend to others. In beholding our reconciliation that happens through the cross, we are moved to demonstrate that same reconciliation to our brothers and sisters. In behold the cross, our lives transform and become cruciform.
Do you take time each day to behold the cross? Have you taken time today, right now to behold the cross? The cross of Christ is the only the means by which we become a cruciform community.
Behold the cross of Christ… today… tomorrow… and forever.