Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
Kayla and Sandra had just finished a play at the Thanksgiving Fest at the Free Reformed Church. They were in the change room.

"Am I ever glad to get out of this costume!" exclaimed Kayla.

"You're the one to talk!" quipped Sandra. "How would you like to be in an asparagus costume for two hours?"

Kayla and Sandra quickly changed into their blue jeans.

"Wasn't that an awesome show? I loved the music and the lights!" exclaimed Kayla.

"And that First Nations dance," added Sandra, "was awesome!"

"Wasn't Sonny good? he should..."

"Kayla, I just remembered," interrupted Sandra, "I have to pick up my little brother at 8:00. He's at the west side of the church at the McDonalds adventure land."

Sandra put her costume in the closet. She put the hanger on the dowel when she noticed a book above the shelf. She pulled it off the shelf. It looked quite old. She rubbed off the dust and read, Holy Bible.

"Say Kayla, do you know anything about this book?"

Kayla looked over Sandra's shoulder. "Looks pretty old to me."

Sandra flipped the pages, "Old and New Testaments." She flipped again, "The first book of Moses called Genesis." She read, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

"Sandra," interrupted Kayla, "we need to go."

"Just a minute," said Sandra. "I think I heard my teacher talk about it in our universal religion class. He said something about it being hate literature that people read in the olden days."

The door opened. Ms. Anderson looked in. "Say girls, we're going to close the church pretty soon." She entered. Her face stiffened. "What are you reading, Sandra?"

"A book. It's called the Holy Bible."

"I thought the janitor got rid of them," she muttered to herself. "Sandra, that's not a book to read at your age. Please give it to me."

Sandra was a bit surprised. Ms. Anderson almost snatched it out of her hands. The girls picked up their bags.

"Have a good evening, girls," said Ms. Anderson more pleasantly.

Five minutes later, they walked outside to go to the other side of the campus. "What got into her?" asked Kayla.

"I don't know," said Sandra, "but I want to find out. When she wasn't looking I sneaked the other Bible in my backpack. There were two on the shelf. Tomorrow, I'm going to ask my great-grandfather. He just turned 95. He should know what that book is all about. Do you want to come along?"

"Sure," replied Kayla.

The Next Day
Kayla and Sandra sat on the sofa with great-grandfather sitting across from them. Sandra pulled the book out of the bag. "Gramps, do you know anything about this book?" She handed it to him. Grandpa looked at it slowly. He turned the pages deep in thought. He was about to speak. He paused. He looked ashamed and sad. The nurse was in his room. "I'll tell you in a minute," he said.

Soon, the nurse left. "Sandra, can you close the door?"

They were alone. "Girls," he said, "it's a long story. I have few years left in my life. I'm not afraid to tell you. Listen closely."

"When I grew up I learned a lot from this book. I remember how my parents taught me to memorize parts of it. I remember going to Sunday school--that's what they called it then. The teacher would tell stories from it so well that I thought I was right there."

"And then, I don't exactly remember when, things started to change. First, it started in the school. The government began calling the Bible hate literature because they thought it offended people. They wouldn't give the school any money if they kept teaching from it.'

When I came back to school in Grade 6, we didn't have any more Bibles. We had a world religions class instead. The school said that parents had to teach the Bible at home if they wanted to."

"At the church, we still read from it and we had a preacher who kept preaching from it. Then came the law suits. It cost the church a lot of money, and they kept losing the court battles."

"Finally, they got rid of the minister. A lot of people left with him and they started services in the homes."

"They got a new minister at the church. He preached differently and began to invite people from other religions to take part in services. He used a power point to preach, so we hardly needed the Bible. I was a teenager then. So, when they got rid of the Bibles from the pews, no one really noticed. The minister would put a text on the screen from time to time ... if he liked it."

ÒThen, the church wanted to do a different kind of outreach. They decided to build a community centre next to the church, so more people could come to what they called 'experience the love of Jesus'."

Grandfather was silent for some time. "It's never been the same since."

He reached down under his chair. He pulled out a book. I've been reading the Bible lately, but my eyes are getting too bad; itÕs too hard to see the letters. Can you read me something, Sandra? Why don't you read Psalm 23; I like that one."

It took Sandra some time to look for it. Finally, she began to read.

****************************************************************************************************

This story seems so unreal, doesn't it? Can you imagine? No, I can't predict the future. Who knows what will happen? Or will the Lord Jesus return before 2102? We don't know.

I may not know the future, but I know in the past this has happened. Do you remember King Josiah (read 2 Kings 22)? It took 75 years for Israel to change from a nation under godly King Hezekiah to the wicked years of King Manasseh. During that time the Scriptures were forgotten. Even godly King Josiah, who must have heard or have been taught enough of God to come to faith, even he did not know anything about the 'Law of Moses.'

What about Church history? Many of you older children have learned about the Reformation in your schools lately. Did you learn about John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, or John Calvin? They lived in times when most people, regular churchgoers, and even the clergy, knew very little of the Bible.

Well, how then could this happen to a church like ours where the Bible is taught in the home and the church and, for most of us, in schools?

The Bible is clear. It all begins with our sinful pride and idolatry, with those things or matters that distract us from serving and trusting God. It begins slowly, until it seems everyone has forgotten Him. And when that happens, the families, churches, and schools, slowly change their focus from serving God to serving idols. Then, the Bible, which clearly teaches us about our sinfulness and need of a Saviour, has no place in the lives of the people.

The story of Josiah, the history of God's church, and my imaginary story, warn us that this can happen. It can happen to you if you turn to the world and what it offers you, if you live for yourself and for the idols that offer you pleasure. Beware. Let us all beware, lest we fall into sin and forget the Lord our God, the Creator of heaven and earth.

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