“…this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies
ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus”
(Philippians 3:13-14). Recently read about a plane crash on take-off, caused in part because it was carrying too much weight (ice on the wings and excess baggage). We can crash and burn if we’re carrying too much baggage. Like the baggage of unrelinquished hurt. If we’ve carried 2013’s
hurts into 2014, we may be surprised to find that we’re headed for a crash. We simply
can’t fly high like God intends if we’re too heavy for takeoff. I get Paul. He’s talking about the future. He says he’s doing one thing: FORGETTING. But he adds something: MOVING ON. Two
separate things? Or intimately related and so we can’t do one without doing the other?
Forgetting is not the same as not remembering. (Yes I forget things – especially
at the grocery store – but that’s not what we’re talking about here.) Here’s what I mean: daughter arrives from college for Christmas break Friday night. I get in my car Saturday morning. I back into her car. A 3 m.p.h. love tap. At the perfect angle to tear both bumper “covers” (no Virginia, there is no such thing as a car bumper any more). Repair cost? I’m not telling. Won’t forget the sting of this for a while. A longggg while. Thank God, the memory of it actually serves a purpose: look before backing up.
Maybe this is what Paul was getting at: forgetting what lies behind means remembering
this was the starting point for a new beginning. We don’t forget that which hurts. Paul is
remembering as he writes about moving forward. We can’t forget our past. We can’t erase our
past. But we can get past our past and move into a better future. We may need to leave
behind hurts others have inflicted on us or we may need to release ourselves from self inflicted
wounds. For Paul it meant moving closer to God through Jesus Christ.
We can remember how others have hurt us, or we can remember them in terms of what the
Christ did for them. It’s our choice. Some hurts just won’t go away, no matter how hard we try. They are scars we will carry to the grave. But we can strain (it takes that much grit) forward to what lies ahead IF we ditch self-pity and grudge-nursing. It’s moving on to “higher ground”.
Get free of old hurts by reframing them in the love of Christ for all people. Otherwise, many
wonderful dreams for 2014 will never take flight.
Here are some questions for you to ask yourself: Am I really awake, aware, present, to God in
my life now?
What does my daily behavior say about the person I really am?
The responses we have to these questions provide true material for reflection. How
much do you reflect? What are the highs and lows of your day, your week? I thought I’d
share some of mine from the past week with you.
High: ringing in the new year with Cynthia (well, at about 7:30pm)
Most loving: glimpsing a mother holding hands with her young child
Most poignant: witnessing the the tears of a grieving family
Funniest: the expression on the father of the bride’s face at one point
Most challenging: encouraging someone who was down
Loneliest moment: my youngest departing for a trip
Sense of accomplishment: being part of a beautiful wedding
Most humbling: prayer with a terribly injured person
Most appreciative: Carla Murray playing at the last minute
Most inspiring: hearing an old country preacher testify to the faith
Most frustrating: realizing how quickly another year has passed
Most liberating: writing another sermon
Quietest: driving home after a funeral in the rain
Most amazed: seeing people transform the fellowship hall into a gorgeous reception space
Most holy: serving Communion
Most joyous: seeing a family totally thrilled to be in a new home.
That’s in one week. God is with us every moment of our lives. It is truly amazing how
often these moments are holy ones. Do we stop to take notice of everything and marvel at
God’s presence in these things? If nothing else, pay attention to your breathing this week….