Daily Devotion for June 2, 2020

Looking Back, Moving Forward?

‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young will see visions, and your old will dream dreams.

                                                            Acts 2:18
I have finally begun sorting through a multitude of my parent’s boxes and files filled with memorabilia, old financial records and just plain stuff. When my parents died, now 7-8 years ago, I just didn’t have the emotional energy to plow through and discard what no longer was needed. Actually, it’s still hard. Each piece of paper, each picture, each item I look at brings a memory. Even some negative and hurtful memories are difficult to discard. Yet, letting go of the past is necessary to fully embrace the future.
These are the times of dual pandemics: COVID-19 and the virus of racism. We grieve when we can’t gather in our church buildings like we used to do. We are shocked out of denial when the specter of systemic racism is so prevalently displayed before us on video. Pleasant memories of days in the pews gone by or painful experiences where we have been treated unjustly or when we have silently witnessed the de-humanization of another, flow through us.
Memories painful or pleasant can hold us back from God’s best future. What do we need to release so that we can dream the dreams and see the visions of God? The scripture is clear that the people of God are not to dwell in comfortable memories of the past or in predictable patterns of social injustice. We have a mission! Jesus said, “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you shall be my witnesses.”(Acts 2:8). May God lead us out of euphoric sentimentalism for what was, into living out of God’s powerful vision for justice. I’m thankful that the living Spirit of God we receive through faith in Jesus Christ which moves us to new life, purpose and action. I will keep working to focus more on the future than the past and discard the attitudes within me that contribute to patterns of societal racism and injustice. These are tall orders, but I’m an old man, so I can dream! Dream with me and let’s put dreams to action! Amen.
Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
    an endless river of righteous living.  
          Amos 5:23-24