Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dear Linwood Family and Friends,

“A piece of the past in the present.”

I was corresponding (by email of course, does anyone still write letters?) and had mentioned that I had a summer job at Linwood Park.  He responded with this:  “We rented cottages in Linwood several times over the years and it’s a special place.  Great for kids and families, and a piece of the past in the present.”

It is nice to hear good things about yourself, isn’t it?  His observation, however, does raise some interesting questions?  For us as Christians, what is the proper balance between the old, the current, and the new?  Between the past, the present, and the future?

My best friend, Father Callahan, was an historian.  I am a futurist.  He could talk forever about what people were doing at a certain place 100 years ago.  I then would talk about the possibilities of what they might be doing 10-20 years from now.

Everybody knows the song, “Give me that old time religion.”  I like the tune, but I am not much for the words.  I don’t want an old time religion; I want one that is alive and vibrant today!  Yes, I can receive inspiration from the faith of our fathers (and mothers), but that in itself does not translate into those things that make for faithfulness today.

There are times when God calls for Israel to “remember.”  Usually that call is to remember how He had led or rescued them.  We are told that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.  Yet, there are also times when Israel was called to “let go” of the past and step forward in faith.

Then, of course, Jesus assures us of a glorious future in the eternal Kingdom!  That hope is a vital part of living today well, while anticipating that amazing future.  Yet, thoughts of the future also raise our fears and anxieties.  And focusing upon the future and its unknowns can incapacitate us.

The challenge for all of us – and one that Linwood does very well – is to have the proper balance between the past, the present, and the future.

As I considered my colleague’s observation, I decided that I might want to make one change, and say, “The peace of the past in the present.”  Of course, our greatest peace is found in Jesus, who is the Lord of the past, the present, and the future!

Blessings in Christ,
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor

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