Former things and Ancient paths…
“I’m going to get the mail,” I said to my wife as I zipped up my jacket. But in far too few minutes I was back. “Forgot the mail key,” I confessed with a hint of self annoyance. “Ding!” rang the microwave. “Your tea’s ready,” I called out to her again later that afternoon, no matter that it was I who only seconds earlier had pressed the “reheat” button to warm my cooled coffee. Returning to my work I picked up my tablet then paused. “Just what was it on which moments ago I had been working?”
Forgetting! — If it’s not hounding you now, just wait. Along with arthritis, indigestion and low energy you’ll eventually discover it too has uninvitedly moved into your temporal temple. Aging aside, you’re probably already encountering it — you just don’t remember! Fast-paced attention grabbing and self-thinking technologies urge human heads to be continually pushing forward… seldom looking back. The “new and improved” shouts louder than the “tried and true.” A forward reaching reflex replaces any contemplative reflection.
Forgetting our frailness… our dependency upon God, we soon begin to believe we can do or become anything – we may even begin to believe we are our own god! Yet still the prophet warns,
“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” (Isa. 46:9-10).
We must habituate healthy remembering if we will avoid the pitfalls of forgetting. “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,” a rueful king concluded (Eccl. 12:1).
Jeremiah cried out to the forward-only looking people of his day,
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jer. 6:16).
Tragically, the verse ends “But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” Though he runs the wrong route, the runner hates to break stride.
What we forget, we no longer remember. Thus, self-assessment is impossible. Someone… something…. from outside ourselves must call us to remember: a note, a friend, a scripture, the Holy Spirit — a poppy?… a communion cup? As we remember our military this Thursday, and as we remember our Lord in His Supper, let us remember also our first love for Him… childlike faith… and the simplicities of surrender.
To these I call you this day.