It’s nearly impossible to ignore or shed the old traditions and memories that have been so much a part of the fabric of our lives.
It is not time itself that we notice is passing, but the things that erase the influences, our memories of childhood moments, red letter days, the darkest nights; all washed away as if by water, all out of sight by the tides of life.
In the years between the 50’s and the 90’s my world was a closely woven world of vibrant community life, intertwined by ties of blood, and sustained by threads of friendships. We lived as individuals, but part of the fabric of the district.
Awesome things were being discovered, invented and established.
The world moved from a time of limits, of austerity, into one that promised endless re-invention.
We could change homes more easily, choose where we lived and the types of clothes we wore. We could fly across the world, and investigate new planets. We even began to crack our genetic codes. But, no matter what science sought, our challenge remained the same (and still does), to know what is it to be human; to embrace our strengths, our weaknesses and dreams.
Thoughts of the past seem to come more readily now, and I find myself wondering about life.
Like what is the guy who first invented automatic washing machine doing now, and when did Waldorf salads go out of fashion? Would we still be using gas lamps if electricity hadn’t been developed as a source of power?
There are many such things that I question, some weird, some illogical, all taking life in my thinking.
If a baby is swimming around in liquid for nine months, how come as soon as they are born into the world they would drown if they were put in water?
If sour cream is cream that has gone sour, why does it have an expiration date?
Remember when focaccia was a big thing? Then Turkish bread came along, and now sourdough. RIP, uncool bread.
Remember when people used floppy disks, or even USBs? #Dropbox!
Memories, epigrams and homilies come tripping easily off our tongues, but how can we understand our present or glimpse our future if we cannot understand our past? How can we know who we are if we don’t know who we were?
Easter always is my time of reckoning. It’s my time to remember that my past is dead and gone. A moment to reclaim my promise in God all over again.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Sometimes, the wandering back into the past makes me think how my life would have turned out had I done things differently. What if I had chosen a different career? What if I had chosen not to travel to the other side of the world? Or not married the father of my children? Or moved back to UK?
My world too easily becomes focused on ‘what ifs’ instead of what is.
Sometimes these thoughts even turn to the sins I have committed. I start dwelling on them and become consumed by guilt. I begin repeatedly asking God for forgiveness. I forget that God has already forgiven me and that I can move forward unburdened by past my sins.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and … put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (NIV).
The old days are gone and will never return.
I can no longer grab hold of them. It is time to continue moving forward with confidence and assurance in Christ Jesus, for there is a prize to be won only by looking forward to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, and not looking back.
Now is the time to focus on the future and where Christ is trying to take me.
There is a great work that God wants to work in and through all of us, but we must be a willing vessel.
The enemy of our minds wants to continue to hold us hostage to our past, but God, our Father, is trying to lead us forward into His future.
Being in Christ sets me apart from any other faith.
My faith is what makes Christianity so different and so distinctive. It is not just the teachings of Jesus Christ or the life of Jesus Christ or even the death of Jesus Christ.
What makes Christianity so different is (if you think about it) a simple moment in time – maybe even less than a moment. Maybe even a period that can’t even be measured, because what happened in that infinitesimally small period was something that had never happened before and has never happened since – a resurrection from the dead. I know in the bible several people were raised from the dead, but they were raised in the same body that died to begin with and eventually they died all over again.
When Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, he was raised in an incorruptible, immortal, eternal, heavenly body that can never again die.
Easter is the time for newness of life. Birth of today and the anticipation of tomorrow.
I lay my life, my past, my future at the foot of the cross, raising my face, seeking the beauty of salvation through Grace.
He will never be in the past but always my future.