Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking Forward to October 9, 2011 -- Thanksgiving Sunday, 100th Anniversary

The Scripture Readings this week are:
Joshua 4:1-8
Psalm 127
John 15:5-11

The sermon title is Remembering Forward

Early Thoughts: Looking back we give thanks. Looking forward we wonder what will come.

In all parts of life we need to look in both directions. We need to know from whence we have come and where we are going.  The challenge is to know how to look both ways.

Why do we look back?  Do we look back to see where we were or where we want to be again?  What do we see when we look back?  Maybe we see the struggles of the past as a foundation.  Maybe we see the triumphs of the past as a goal to meet.  Do we see a Golden Age that we are nostalgic about?

Why do we look forward? What do we see when we look forward?  DO we see a future full of hope or a future of struggle?

Significant anniversaries are times for celebration.  But they also carry a danger.  The celebration encourages us to look back fondly, to tell the stories, to share the memories (both real and mythic) that have shaped the organization.  But the danger is that we may wax nostalgic and fret about how we can re-create teh glories of those days.

The past is the past.  It has shaped us as a community.  It has led us to this point.  But it is not the present and it is not the future.  The most important way we honour the foundation laid by those who have gone before is by remembering forward.  To remember forward is to commit to using the foundation laid before us to build on for the future.  WE can't and shouldn't recreate the past.  WE need to be who God is calling us to be today and tomorrow.  But by remembering forward we honour the gifts given by countless others before our time.  By remembering forward we build on what they have done.

This weekend we remember those who laid stones before we came.  This weekend we re-commit ourselves to be growing branches of the vine.  This weekend we remember forward as we launch ourselves into a new century.  As a part of our celebration we will plant a tree.  And so I remind you of the old wisdom that you always plant a tree for those who will come later, when it has had time to grow into maturity.  Building a faith community is the same thing.

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