St. John the Evangelist, Smiths Falls The Rev. Canon Brian A. Burrows.
Text: 2 Timothy 4:2 “I solemnly urge you; proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable, convince, rebuke and encourage with the utmost patience in teaching.”
Title: Necessary steps to growth!
The Second Book of Kings in the Old Testament is not the obvious source of inspiration for renewal and reform. Following my usual plan to read from Genesis to Revelation chapter by chapter, I have come to King Josiah. Reading about his actions to reform the Kingdom of Judah helped me to see how the Church can also begin a process of renewal. There must be a desire to restore the fabric of the church, a desire to hear God's word and lastly, inspired leadership from the top.
Take care of the House of the Lord!
When King Josiah of Judah was 26, he ordered the High Priest to count the money collected for the Temple, so that the House of the Lord could be repaired and refurbished. He wanted to prepare the people to help him do what was right in the sight of the Lord.
It seems to me also that one of the signs of a healthy church is when the place of worship is in good order and the people contribute willingly to its upkeep. It is a first step towards renewal and growth in the life of the congregation. However, something else must happen if the Church is to grow and faithfully proclaim the Good News.
Re-discovering the word of God!
When Hilkiah the High Priest started to organize the repairing of the Temple, he made a startling discovery. “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord,” he said. Then the Secretary read it aloud to the King.
The next step then, in renewing the life of any church is to re-discover the power of the word of God. We as Anglicans share that great work of the Reformers who gave us God's word in our own language. We take this for granted in our many services. The point is to make God's word precious and personal to each of us. I commend Bible study groups, daily bible readings and the like to help us listen to what God is trying to say to us.
Inspiration must come from the top!
Josiah as King set a good example from the top and was later comforted by the words of Huldah, the prophetess. We in the Church and in the world also look for encouragement and inspiration from the top.
Let us then, look most of all to the King of kings, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Timothy 6:15b “...he who is the blessed and only sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords ... to him be honour and eternal dominion.”
Most of us pray for the Church to grow. We want to hear God speaking to us in a space where we feel comfortable. I believe 2 Kings can take us from the good intentions of King Josiah to the one God sent to redeem Israel and the world – Jesus Christ, King of kings, the Messiah promised by Scripture and whom we can know by faith.