Isaiah 51: 1-3, 43: 15-21
Today’s passages, chapter 51 and 43, were originally written for the Israelites who lost their nation, and became captives of Babylon about 70 years, a period of discouragement, oppression, and depression. Within such context, the Israelites were reminded, “Do not remember former things.”
That is, forget! Forget the past and the memory—why? Because God is doing a new thing—a new liberation, a new history, and a new homecoming. For the Israelites, remembering and forgetting are like two sides of the same coin.
The reason Prophet Isaiah asked the Israelites to deeply remember the past was not because they needed to sit with nostalgia for the Egyptian exodus, but because they needed a liberation, a new exodus from Babylon.
For the Israelites, God was there when they were captives and suffered in Egypt and Babylon. All these people had to do was to keeping going, they had to take one step at a time. The Israelites lived for a while between the times of remembering and forgetting that eventually led them to watch for glimpses of God’s work and God’s will.
Look back and remember things that FCC used to do. FCC used to play a pipe organ for Sunday worship; used to have a larger-sized choir; used to have a Children’s hand-bell choir; used to fill the pews in this sanctuary with many people. There were high times as well as low times. It is okay to look back and be nostalgic; however, sometimes, looking back may make looking ahead and moving forward impossible.
Today’s passages tell us that there is a danger in remembering what we must forget. Then, look ahead and imagine the new things that FCC can do and what its future holds. But remember that there is a danger in forgetting what we must remember. In addition, there is also a danger in staying when we must depart in faith.
So, dear FCC family, go out. Go out from old, tired beliefs and ideas, go out from fears and conflicts that divide us, go out from old and unresolved quarrels. Go out from old decisions that have scarred and wounded. Go out from old memories that have become stones.
Now, we go the way of Father Abraham toward a new way and a new place of life even if we have to leave what is comfortable and go against the way things are. We go out in joy and in peace and laughing like Mother Sarah, to become the womb for giving new birth to the brutal world, and to become rivers, streams, and a fresh well in the desert.
Let’s keep doing passionate remembering. Let’s keep doing liberated forgetting. And let’s keep doing joyous departing.
Thanks be to God.