Before I forget, let me wish each and every one of you a very Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Having said that, do you know why people celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
Realistically, most non-Latinos would answer that it’s the day when Mexicans celebrate their Independence Day, much like people here in the United States celebrate the Fourth of July... and those people would be wrong on both counts. First off, Mexican Independence Day is September 16. Secondly, Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated in the United States, not Mexico (where only one of the country’s 31 states celebrates the day).
See, May 5, 1862, was the date of the crucial Battle of Puebla, when Mexico defeated France, both securing its own cultural identity and thwarting the French plan to create a North American empire in collusion with the Confederate States of America. So both U.S. Latinos and U.S. Northerners celebrated the victory as the day that broke the back of France in America and helped to preserve two cultures.
Is that important? Well, for those who lean more toward St. Patrick’s Day or Kasmir Pulaski Day, maybe not. But for those who want to celebrate what Cinco de Mayo really means...? Absolutely.
In the same way, there was a Star Trek episode back in the 1960s where Captain Kirk found a planet almost exactly like Earth, but which has reverted to barbarism after a World War centuries before. The surviving “Yang” tribesmen revered their “holy words” of “e pleb neesta,” speaking them with great awe and profundity, thought they no longer remembered what they originally meant. Kirk eventually realized that over the centuries, they had corrupted the words, “We the People...” and had forgotten why those words truly were holy and special.
Is that important? Well, for the founding fathers of our nation, who gave up their lives in support of a government built by and of “We the People,” I’d say that it’s fairly crucially important for us to remember why those words actually matter -- and should continue to matter.
In the same way, a lot of Christians only sorta know their own Bibles. Oh, they believe with great reverence... but don’t recall the details entirely of what it is that they believe. In a recent poll, 76% of Evangelical Christians believed that Jesus Christ was the greatest being created by God, and 46% said they believed that the Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being. Most Christians will tell you Noah gathered the animals -- only two of each kind -- and that the ark floated for 40 days and nights... none of which is what the Bible actually says. Most will tell you that Delilah cut Samson’s hair.
Is that important? If you believe that belief is more important than what you believe in is -- if you believe that faith is the important thing, rather than the Truth of your faith -- then maybe not. But if you want to be sure of what you believe, and know that you’re walking the path that God sculpted you to walk? It’s absolutely essential.
So here’s a thought: if the longest song in the Bible (Psalm 119) is a love song, and if the object of that love song is the Word of God itself -- God’s living and active Word, the owner’s manual for your whole life -- then what should our reaction be? Shouldn’t we crack that book open more than once a week? Shouldn’t we get past the leather binding and gilded edges and fall in love with the words of the Word?
Open up the Bible every day, and fill your heart and mind with God’s Word every day -- not with your own, hazy, “e pleb neesta” recollections of what the Bible says, but with the actual words of the living Word.
I guarantee that if you don’t fill yourself with God’s wisdom every day, you’ll be filling yourself with something else instead, because Nature abhors a vacuum...