Every Sunday morning as the hymns are called, a church matriarch will leave her hymnal in the pew rack and sing from her incredible memory. She can recount sermons, Sunday school lessons, and precious moments within our faith community’s life. She weaves us together through her care, love, and attention to detail. I imagine her as our link between the past, present, and future. She reminds us of so many moments in our history, the wonderful times and the crises. She recalls the saints of our past and the hopes and dreams we hold for our community’s future. Not everyone is able to do what she does for us. Some fear losing the past so intensely that they convince themselves there can be no future. Others have been so afraid of the past exerting control on the present that they disdain the past. With compassion, wisdom, and creativity, our matriarch embraces both the past and the future and proves those fears wrong. She is our chain of memory.
Job finds himself in a pivotal moment. Yes, the blessings of the Lord now flow generously, but the dangerous memories of the past cannot be blotted out. Survivors of tragedy, like Job, always find themselves in this difficult, important place. They are links in the memory of their losses, even an entire lost community. Will they hold onto those memories or disdain them?
Those who have crossed into the arms of God need to have their stories told. May there be witnesses who courageously tell those stories. And may there be listeners who value the ones who have gone before. As Job learns in the midst of his tragedy, it is God who hears the stories when no one else listens, and it’s God who holds all stories in eternity.
What does embracing the past and the future look like for you? How do you learn to do that?
Lord of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, your love is a cord that holds the beads of time. Show us how to weave our lives into a tapestry that celebrates your creative beauty and wisdom. Amen.