Fifty-one years ago, this last July 20, when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon it was a seminal moment. The world was watching. We did not have 24-hour news stations, but the news stations we had were tuned in. We have come a long way since we heard words coming from the man ON the moon, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Those of us, who are old enough to remember, remember where we were when we heard those words. We remember where we were when we heard the news that President Kennedy was killed, that Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, that Bobby Kennedy was killed, that John Lennon was killed, that President Reagan was shot, that the Twin Towers fell, and when we heard the news of what happened at Columbine and Sandy Hook, and Newtown and Parkland and …. Santa Fe …and El Paso Walmart and this week’s explosion in Beirut, Lebanon and over 160,000 deaths in our country due to Covid 19. We remember, but we must forget.
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “Those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it. “That’s why we study and remember the past.
In his letter to the Philippians the apostle Paul wrote this.
“… one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The word for forgetting is a word that means more like “don’t be held back” than it means to “not remember.” We remember, but we must forget. We remember the past, we honor the past, and we memorialize the past…but we must not let the past hold us back from pressing on into the future.
We cannot let our past failures hold us back from trying again.
We cannot be held back by past failures—Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times before he found a filament thin enough to succeed in making a light bulb. He was quoted as saying he discovered 10,000 ways NOT to invent a light bulb.
We can let our past successes tempt us to rest on what worked then but is not working now.
We cannot be held back by past successes—Neil Armstrong succeeded in being the first man to set foot on the moon. But he came back. He did not stay on the moon. He went on to other things. He remembered that step, but he forgot it also.
As Joyful Life moves forward after there will be remembering and forgetting. With your vote to be a redevelopment congregation you will be moving forward in a new direction. You will have many things that to remember and many things to forget.
I remember the places I have served, including Joyful Life. It has been a privilege to serve as your Interim Pastor. I have to say it was not what I anticipated. I remember the Fish Fry’s fondly. I remember the stirring music. I remember your smiling faces. But I must not let that hold me back. You must not let that hold you back.
Now that you have voted to become a redevelopment congregation and the Synod will be providing you with assistance and selecting a specifically trained redevelopment pastor I will be moving on. My extension of my contract with you will end on August 20th. I will be able to serve as your supply pastor through two Sunday’s, August 23rd, and August 30th.
I have accepted a call to become the Interim Pastor at Woodforest Presbyterian Church starting August 30th. I will remember my time with you. I learned to be a televangelist. I learned to post a song a day since March 27th. Today was Covid-eo song #137. I learned to ask God to forgive my trespasses instead of my debts. (I guess I still owe God a lot). I wish for you God’s best as I move on ….and as you move on.
I will remember you, but I also will forget what lies behind and press on to what is ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize…of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.
as I take many more … small steps.