The past is big business isn’t it? Just look at some of the most durable and popular shows on television: Antiques Roadshow, Who do You Think You Are, Time Team not to mention the success of dramas like Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs (the original of course!), The Forsyth Sage and the perennial Pride & Prejudice.
And of course in the past decade and a half there has been more and more interest in our personal histories. More and more people are spending their spare time researching their genealogy. Finding out about who their forebears were and what they did. It is I am told an illuminating and often rewarding thing to do, and I could be really interested in it if I had the time to give the research it takes.
At St Mary’s it is not unusual to receive a phone call or email from someone, often in far-flung parts of the world, wanting to find out information about an ancestor potentially buried in our grave yard. I say potential not because the burial is suspect (!) they are almost certainly buried somewhere but because often it is actually in Lytchett Minster, or Langton or Worth Matravers!
Over the next few weeks we celebrate a time of remembrance. Our annual All Souls Service remembering the loved ones that have passed, Our Community Remembrance Service in the School Hall and the celebration of All Saints day
The thing is, I am getting increasingly convinced that God doesn’t have a huge interest in the past. It seems to me that God as always been much more interested in the future.
God has always been more interested in the future than the past. It was his desire to invest in the future that caused him to lead the Jews out of slavery in Egypt, it was the call to the future that caused him to prompt Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It was this desire to give us a future that led him to take on human flesh in the person of Christ to make the ultimate sacrifice for us.
When Jesus died on the cross he did it so that we could leave our old lives behind and be re-created through the sacrifice he gave for us. Ultimately God pays the price for our past, the things we’ve done wrong, the regrets, the pains and the hurts we’ve received and inflicted in our lives.
We’ve been thinking about ‘Transformation’ a lot in recent weeks – it is a word that describes both what we receive when we choose to follow Christ and describes what God wants to achieve in us. He wants us to change and be changed, he wants us to be better than we are, more godly, more open, more loving.
Too often we think of faith as a digital setting either you believe (1) or you don’t (0) when actually it’s just not that simple. We are all on a journey of faith, even if you are a committed atheist, you are on a journey of faith.
Of course it is right to remember the loved ones that have passed, of course it is right to remember the sacrifice of previous generations in ensuring our freedom. But lets not dwell wholly in the past. Let’s remember that though past-times may seem more simple and easier that there was more poverty, more disease and illness and more hardship.
Lets remember that God is much more interested in your future, much more interested in the transformation of your life. Much more interested in a personal relationship that wipes out all that has passed and giving you a future.