Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
“Then neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.” Jesus
One really only has two choices in life; move on or get stuck. Time, months, days, years, the calendar, the stars, the slow decay of our bodies, the mountains working their way back to the sea, everything around us is moving; might we say moving on. When everything is moving, how is it that we spend so much time stuck?
The sticking points, the fly paper we cannot escape, the quicksand that threatens to devour us, comes in many forms: shame, guilt, regret, fear, doubt, and in general the inability to move past the past. The past is the place of the dead. The past is history. The past is not coming back. We had our shot at living days gone by, but no amount of prayer or wishing on stars will bring them back. Wake up every morning and look back and you will discover that nothing ever changes in the pages of history. Meanwhile, the time and the opportunities of today are wasted as we focus in the rearview mirror, unable to move on.
The Jesus story, God with us, is really about moving forward in faith. It is about believing and trusting God with a future that is not predictable, and leaving the past which is totally predictable. Jesus was the master of new beginnings. He performed miracles, he forgave sins, he raised the dead, he called people to new life. He had the ability to turn back time; he could have called for a reboot, gone back to Adam and Eve saying, “Humans in paradise take two.” But going back was not ever a part of the plan. It seems that time only goes in one direction.
One really only has two choices in life; move forward or get stuck. Let’s move forward in 2021. In order to do so, we must make peace with our past. We all have regrets; there are pages, paragraphs, or chapters of our life story that we would like to rewrite. We can only change our story going forward. So, learn from past successes and failures but don’t dwell on them. You are human, we are all human, we cannot be in relationship without forgiving and being forgiven. In Holy Communion the words of Jesus are spoken, “Shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.” If Jesus has promised to forgive, then maybe it is time to forgive yourself. If you don’t, well then you are stuck. And if you refuse to forgive others, then once again you are stuck.
Once the fly steps on the fly paper he is stuck. Once the explorer steps in the quicksand, he is not getting out alive. When the regret or shame of the past becomes your life, then you are not living. We all need to help each other to move forward. Grace and mercy are the only way to move forward.
God sent me to tell you that your sins are forgiven, now move forward. Who needs to hear from you today? Is God calling you to rescue them from the quicksand?
We are closer to the end than the beginning—and time only moves forward.