The Past Is Gone, But…?

Lately I have heard the well worn quote:
“The Past Is Gone and tomorrow will never come and so live today.”
But maybe yesterday isn’t gone.
I’ve also been exposed to the ideas of those who speak of time being a line.
And we move back and forth from past to now and on to tomorrow
Then back again.
This time of year, we are reminded of the influence one person can have on their community
In “A Wonderful Life” – that classic Jimmy Stewart movie.

It seems we flow in and out of the influence of the people with whom we have a history.
Sometimes an ongoing relationship and sometimes something that changed us long ago
Pops up and becomes today’s reality, making us visit a distant happening or place
As if it the changes were occurring in the present.
And we wonder what life would have been like if we had not been graced
By that one person, place, or event.

To add to the confusion, we really can’t complete this whimsical exercise,
Nor does it make a lot of sense if we try to make that whole line of thinking concrete.
It simply slips through the fingers of the mind.

I wonder if the writer or Isaiah is in the place as he writes in chapter sixty-two.
He dwells on a place he loves, but somehow we know he can’t be there.
So he prays. “Because I love Zion I will not be still.
Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent.
I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn,
And her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
The world will see your glory. The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see-
A splendid crown in the hand of God.”
And then we hear him entice others to:
“Give the Lord no rest until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.”
(ISAIAH 62:1-3 and 7)

And I found myself praying for the places and churches we have been part of,
And the people I have loved and still love
But am no longer in their presences as I once was.
And praying blessings upon them until their very being shows God’s glory…
Until they shine like the dawn…blaze like a burning torch…
Until the Lord holds you in his hand for all the world to see….
A splendid crown in the hand of God.

Suddenly the past is like the present
With God between me and the people and places
I have loved and will always love.
But they no longer surround and press in upon me with emotional weight.
Instead you become joyful gifts that influence my life every day as I hold you up
In prayer until God blesses you all so much you become God’s pride and joy.

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