This morning as I gathered with my prayer group our discussion turned to cars and trucks, those we had either owned or had contact with through another family member. As I listened, I realized that it was not the vehicles that we were attached to. Instead, it was the memories that were attached to them. In some cases, it was a family member. It was the places that those vehicles had taken us. It was events that had taken place while we owned them. The common theme was we were remembering our past.
Our scripture this week comes from Nehemiah. We find Nehemiah homesick for his native home – Jerusalem. Nehemiah is living in exile. His life station has improved. He is now a head servant to the King. Life is good, except that his heart yearns for his homeland.
Often, we are taught to look forward to the future, to let the past be the past. I have found that we first must know the past before we can look to the future. If we know the past, we know what works and what doesn’t. We can learn from the mistakes we may have made before so that we won’t repeat them.
The biggest thing I think we gain from our past is knowledge. If we pay attention along life’s way, we gain knowledge. Knowledge enables us to direct our lives as we move forward on our journey of faith.
But there always seems to be a but, we cannot keep this knowledge to ourselves. Jesus has told us that we are to go out into the world teaching others what we have learned and experienced. I believe that to do this, we must from time to time pause and reflect on the past.
Lent is such a time. A time to look back and see where we might have veered from our path, to see where we need to adjust our course.
Spend some time during this season of Lent with your memories.
Lord, thank you for our memories. Help us to learn from them. Amen.
Always, to God be the glory!