Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 21, Ephesians 5, Acts 25, Psalm 38
[Manasseh] did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, following the abominable practices of the nations that the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. -2 Kings 21:2
2 Kings paints a bleak picture of the 55 year reign of Manasseh over the Kingdom of Judah. During his long reign he set up altars to a plethora of gods in the Temple in Jerusalem. He consulted with soothsayers and sorcerers. He spilled innocent blood. Lots of it. His reign was so long that many must have been born, lived and died during those difficult days. As we head into the last month of 2020, which, by all accounts, has been an awful year, reading Manasseh’s story this morning helped put things in perspective. I’m hopeful, for a variety of reasons, that 2021 will be better. As I pondered all this, I found Paul’s words to the Ephesians (written in another difficult time) heartening, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (5:1-2). Manasseh turned away from God. But, it is God’s love for us in Christ, and imitating his Way, that will help us endure no matter what next year, or even tomorrow may bring.