Remembering Forward | Associate Minister’s Letter

Posted by on Nov 3, 2016 in Rectors Letters | 0 comments

Remember forward 

By the time you read this the wedding day will be over. My daughter will be married, I will have gained another son-in-law, many tissues will have been used (and that’s just me), my speech spoken, food eaten, drink drunk and my wallet empty – but it will all be worth it. I am sure it will be a day full of beautiful memories, joy and laughter. In years to come we will look back at the pictures and remember the day.

Remembering the good things is an important part of life. It’s good for our own wellbeing and can warm our hearts in days which seem cold. However, we often do seem to excel at remembering the bad stuff, the things that hurt or have caused us pain. Though there is a place for that in moderation.

We are entering the time of year when we remember those who, in the World Wars and beyond, gave their lives for us so we can have our freedom. We do need to remember their sacrifice – to remember well so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past and move forward positively into future. We need to remember forward almost. Sadly, it seems as if the governments of this world forget the mistakes of the past and go on to make them all over again.

But if we find it difficult to ‘remember forward’ in matters of war, we need to still keep alive the hope of learning from the past in services of remembrance across the country. Hearing the stories of sacrifice not as heroic tales to stir the soul, but as epitaphs to people who would rather have not done the things they had to do, but do them nevertheless, for the sake of others.

We may only be able to play a small part in the decision- making of politicians and generals but we can, however, make this our mission in our personal lives, to remember forward – to take the lessons and the best of the past to build a new future.

Seem difficult? Well to help us we need to trust in a God who has a long memory for his promises and a short one for our sins.

This is something the Bible clearly communicates, in Psalm 105.8 it says …

“He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations” 

and in the Book of Isaiah:

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Is 4.25)

Maybe that’s it: maybe that’s the key to it all. Having a long memory for the promises we make but a short memory of the sins of others. That seems the best way to remember forward. There have been examples of treatment of the ‘sins’ of a nation that have actually exacerbated the situation and caused further conflict. Either way in our personal lives it certainly is true that we seem to want to keep a long memory for the ways we have been hurt and are careless about any promises that we ourselves have broken.

As Bishop Donald reminds us on page 15 of this edition it is important to live in the present too, but at this Remembrance time, let’s remember forward and choose in our own lives to build our futures on the good of the past with the God who remembers his promises to us forever.

Rev Matt Taylor