[Rector]

History

 

Henry Ford once commented that "History is bunk." Of course, now Henry is part of that bunk, so maybe it's not as bunkish, although it could be more bunkish. Many have said that Henry's cars are bunk, especially as they have rusted away with the passing of time - at times, in all too short a time. Still, was Henry right?

Many a school student has asked, "What's the point of studying history?" They have never asked me that. What they ask me is, "What's the point of studying the Bible?" I must say, my question is easier to answer than that of the history teacher. The history teacher usually comes up with the following line. "Since history repeats itself, by studying history we can avoid repeating the mistakes of the past."

The sociologist Pamela McCorduck, had this to say on the issue. "There's no harm in looking at what our species has done in the past; indeed, it's very entertaining and often appalling; but we must stop pretending that we really learn anything from such examinations, or even that we can reform ourselves by such study. We reform ourselves in the present, not the past, adapting ourselves to present needs. Of course, we have a sense of history, but what overwhelms us at the moment are the differences, not the similarities. If the past has something to say to us, we seldom pay attention."

So maybe the old adage has truth in it after all. "The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history". How true! We have just lived through another property boom. It went the way of all the others. The usual predictions of onward ever upward were not realized. Like a wave rushing toward the beach, when you catch it you feel it will never end, but it ends up on the beach like all the others. Yes, history does repeat itself, but we never learn from it.

There was one event in history which has never been repeated. It intruded itself into the constant repetition of mistakes that plagues mankind. It was the intrusion in history of the Divine-man before whom every knee must bow and every tongue confess. He is the one through whom all things have come into being and are maintained, and who will one day speak, and from the dust the dead will rise. History has never seen his like, nor never will. When all has passed away, and with it the constant repeated foolishness of the human species, we can only but hope that at least some have noted this event in the constant cycle of time.