Past, Present & Future

by Pastor Dan
It is interesting to have stories in your mind that bring up memories in your life.  I have heard stories of the generations of my family before me and have studied them.  When looking at the past, there is what I call a nostalgic struggle.  To some, there is a look back with fond memories and maybe even a hint of longing to return to such a memorable time in their life.  To others, a look back is filled with fear and anxiety because of the hurt or trauma that occurred either to them or around them.  The younger person listening to them has no idea what is happening inside the head of the person who is remembering the past because they are living in the present.  The younger person can begin to understand by asking questions and learning from the past. 
I was recently told that in the last 65 years of my life, I have seen more changes than in the previous 65 years of the generation that preceded me.  That is interesting to me because I have heard stories from my great grandfather of what it was like growing up in the late 1800s.  He passed away at the age of 97, when I was 13 years old.  Now, even in my lifetime, I could tell you many stories of houses and commercial buildings that have swallowed up farmland and destroyed family businesses that fed their community for the sake of progress and money.  Now, this is not a complaint session; it is simply a realization that generations tend to see things differently based on their life and experiences.  
The same thing happened in the book of Ezra.  They had lost their temple, the place they gather to worship because of God correcting them and desiring to restore them to a relationship with Him.  A king during that time of suffering and pain decided to let Israel rebuild the temple to gather once again to give glory to God and to encourage one another.  Although they came up against some opposition while building the temple, they did not give up.  When the actual foundation was finished, those of the younger generation wanted to celebrate that stage of the work completed.  Here is an excerpt from that celebration:
“They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.’  And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.  Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.”  Ezra 3:11-13
Did you see the nostalgic struggle come to life in this story of the foundation being built?  There is something very graceful and dynamic about bringing the past and the present together.  I am not talking about an event; I am talking about a relationship.  When Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sin, He also died for everyone else’s sin, putting everyone at the same place to make a choice to receive this free gift of eternal life.  Jesus built the foundation for which we can build our life on.  As my family grows, I want my children and grandchildren and beyond to share in this building of a life with gratitude and joy which provides wonderful memories of life, love, and joy even during struggles and trials.  
So now it’s me bringing stories of the past, my children bringing stories of the now so that my grandchildren will make stories in the future, and they all point to the same foundation.  Jesus can redeem your hurtful past -- he did mine -- so no matter whether the shouts are from the tears shed in the past or the joys that are in the present, they sound the same because of the relationship with Jesus Christ and others.  You can start your journey today.

Pastor Dan