Ten Years And Counting!
This week I received a letter from our Bishop's office congratulating me on the 10th anniversary of my ordination. Wow. In the hustle and bustle of moving and everything else, it slipped my mind earlier this week. Ten years ago Christy and I had no kids and lived in an apartment in a hip, young couples type of area. Ten years ago life was very different. And ten years from now will be different from today. And I am OK with that.
I've never been one to mourn the past. As I heard someone say recently, "Your past is the only thing in your life you cannot change." Yet so many of us choose to live there. As Billy Joel once sang, "The good ol' days weren't always good, and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems." What is it in your life today that needs reconciling? What can you decide today to leave in the past where it belongs and embrace the future God has for you?
Two weeks ago the media, Facebook, Twitter, everywhere people got together someone was talking about the world ending. And we woke up the next Sunday anyway. Maybe, as some of those "Rapture" folk claim now, God gave us another chance. By the way, you know the whole "Rapture" theology of the Left Behind books, etc. never existed before 300 years ago, right? Time to leave that in the past too. But suppose for a second they are right and God has given us another chance to get things right. How will you embrace today? And the future? With fear, pessimism, anxiety?
The day after the world was to end, in the sermon I mentioned Jesus visiting a place where folk in need of healing would gather around pools of water (John 5). The tradition was if the waters of the pools were stirred God would send an angel to heal the faithful. As we sang that day, "God's a-gonna trouble the water." When Jesus arrived at Bethzatha that day, he approached someone and asked directly: "Do you want to be made well?" After hearing the man's awful story, the next words Jesus said were: "Stand up, take up your mat and walk." And for the first time in 38 years, this guy walked right out of Bethzatha. Gone. Forever. Just like that.
Maybe your last ten years-- fifty years-- month-- however long-- has been spent waiting for a divine intervention. Maybe you're stuck in a yesterday or yesteryear place and the world has moved on. Time to get up and walk out!
I will never forget the night of my ordination. It had been a long, difficult, exhausting, expensive process-- but also rewarding, exhilarating, and thrilling. As Christy and pastors who had served as mentors surrounded me, laying hands on me, the Bishop said those amazing words that still bring chills: "Frank, take thou authority as an Elder in the Church." A wonderful moment in my life. But I could not stay in the Sanctuary of First UMC Houston's West Campus forever. Since then I became a Dad, a better husband, pastor, and human being. I am determined to believe my "glory days" are ahead of me and not behind-- and when I experience them I will anticipate more.
Let's all hear the words of our Savior: "Do you want to be made well?" Well-- do you? What is it you need to leave behind in the past? Illness? Bitterness? Hurt? Fear of a new reality? "Stand up, take up your mat and walk." Walk right out of that yester-place and into God's bold new future!