This post could be subtitled: An Argument for Reenacting; but I chose not to use that Puritan-like literary device today….
Anyways, a recent turn of events has suddenly involved my sister and I in Civil War reenacting (which war shall hereafter be known as the “War Between the States”). As we contemplate further forays into this new activity in which we are meeting new people from round and about and enjoying ourselves, I wanted to stop and examine why we are “wasting” time and a certain small amount of resources on this…since everything we do is to be done to the glory and honor of our God, how are we honoring him through our historical studies and “impressions”?
With these thoughts wandering around my head, I thought it was very fitting that this past weekend, while sitting in a tent out in the middle of nowhere in north Florida, I came to Psalm 78: “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done……” And it goes on in the same vein, saying that we should tell our children the deeds of the Lord so that they might set their hope in God and not be disobedient as our forefathers have been.
Of course, the immediate context of the Psalm is speaking of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, but the principle still stands–that the people of God are to remember the deeds of God–for a reason! We must remember what God has done lest we fall prey to the temptations and deceptions of the world, the flesh, and the devil. If we are to pursue truth, salvation, and living as God’s children in the place and time in which he has put us, we must also pursue wisdom and understanding–and this includes an understanding of our context in history.
For is not all of history the works of God’s hands? Job answers thus: “Who among all these does not know that the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind…If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open. If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land….” ~Job 12:9-10, 14-15
Over and over again throughout the Scriptures, God commands his people to remember–or rebukes them for forgetting. He commands us to remember what he has done–not just what he has commanded. Indeed, the very fountain of much of our sin is our forgetting who he is and what he has done. The man who knows God knows what he has done. Not only has God provided for our salvation, he has saved us. Not only has he saved us, he preserves us alive this moment. Not only does he keep us forever, he is working out his holy plan for all of history–to his glory and for the good of his people. Let us know what God has done–and we shall know him better….
So let us remember what God has done in our land and in our history. Let us read and learn of those who have gone before, watching their greatness, seeing their sins. Let us stand and consider our God’s working in history. Let us “step back in time” and encounter another generation of sinful people, who had great trials to face–many difficulties very different from ours–many very alike. Looking back, let us remember that despite the worst devastations of war and famine, the faithful God is our home.
Additionally, there is an undeniable facet of similitude, of parallels in history that anyone who even barely dabbles in historical studies recognizes–without pointing out anything in particular, I yet venture to suggest that this also makes the reenacting of the War Between the States (and other eras) valuable to us today.
Furthermore, it is honoring our forefathers to remember them. To stand on the spot where men bled and died, ultimately, for the sake of their children–for us–is sobering. We should ask ourselves if we are willing to do the same, if we are willing to follow the good example of those who have gone before, as Scripture bids us. And seeing the bad examples alongside the good, shall we turn from like temptations, or sin as these others did?
Then there is the aspect of fellowship and fun that is had at events such as reenactments. The Lord has blessed us by giving us opportunity to join in fellowship with other believers and open doors to bear witness of the truth–as well as providing us at this time in our lives an avenue of very enjoyable out-of-doors recreation, music, dancing, fun, and, last but not least, and outlet for artistry and professionalism.
Undeniably, creativity is challenged to grow by stretching the mind to encounter different points of view and to run in different channels. This is closely linked to the “acting” part. Not just is reenacting about “re”-enacting but it also has an element of acting to it. The most professional reenactors (and the ones you will remember and learn from the most) are the ones who are the most able to creatively and spontaneously behave and speak according to the time which they are portraying in the living flesh before you.
But let me close this poor defense of reenacting with an exhortation to you all to remember the history of our nation, in order that we may learn not to transgress against our God. May we may speak truth to our children, that they may keep to the old paths of righteousness and walk in them always!