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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

13 March 2013: Linda Cawsey, Petersfield Methodist Church

Fallen Idols or the Real Thing?

The Books of Chronicles in the Old Testament record the history of the people of Israel from the period of the monarchies under King David and King Solomon, through the division in the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, the destruction of the former (Israel) and the end of the latter (Judah) when Jerusalem fell and the people were taken into exile in Babylon.

The glowing reports of the building in Jerusalem by King Solomon, the visit of the Queen of Sheba and the description of the tremendous treasures of the temple and King Solomon's palace were offset, on the negative side, by the rise in idolatry and the subsequent sacking and destruction of the temple.

In the midst of this turmoil, the words of one insignificant prophet strike as relevant for today as they were in 900BC - " Listen to me all of you. The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with Him! Whenever you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you abandon Him, He will abandon you."

So often, it is in times of relative peace and prosperity that we feel we have no need of God and, as with the Israelites, other idols start to creep into our lives and God is abandoned. And yet the words of the prophet show that action is required of us if we are to find our God. It is not all one-sided.

The situation in Israel and the rest of the Middle East is as much in turmoil today as it was some three thousand years ago. The results of the latest census confirmed what we all felt, that most of the people in our own country, no longer see themselves as Christian. The idols that we worship may be different from those of the Israelites of the Old Testament, but we place our trust in our own idols of wealth, status, selfishness and nimbyism. We are currently in the church season of Lent, a time of reflection and re-evaluation of our lives leading to the culmination of the celebration of the greatest gift of all with the death and resurrection of God's Son at Easter.

Is it time to abandon our idols and to seek the true God or shall we live with our idols and be abandoned ourselves?

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Post on 13 March; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

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