"We gather in faith..."

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian

Reflections

As we grow older, one of the things we have trouble

with is our memories. We have more and more

“senior moments”. There are all kinds of self-help

books on the market and even so called natural

remedies to supposedly assist us remember better.

Sometimes, though, the power to forget is equally

valuable and important. St. Paul wrote in one of his

letters. “Forgetting those things which are past, I

press on.” While it’s not clear exactly to what he

was referring, I think there are several things it is

good for us to forget. First of all, strange as it may

sound, it can be good for us to forget past

accomplishments. Many people park by some past

success and thus fail to grow and achieve even better

things. As Dr. William Fisher wrote many years ago

in a book entitled Don’t Park Here, “Out of the

satisfactions of success too often come a

complacency and contentment that lull the mind,

erode the will, and cut the nerve of continued effort

to achieve”. It is also important for us to forget our

hurts. Again, St. Paul was often beaten, jailed, his

character assailed, his sanity questioned. But rather

than dwell on these things with bitterness, he looked

to the future. Sooner or later, all of us are the victim

of some unjust misfortune. Life has its uneven

places. They can come from accidents, illnesses, or

the wrongful actions of others. But if we cannot put

them behind us, our energy to build a better future is

siphoned off and we become prisoners of yesterday.

A third place where poor memory is a blessing rather

than a curse is at the point of our failures. All of us

fail at one time or another. If the athlete who had a

bad game continued to dwell on that, he or she would

might never win again. Similarly, if we let a mistake

or even a serious sin define us, we will never become

our better selves. If St. Peter could not have

accepted Christ’s forgiveness for his denials, he

could never have led the early church. Let us then,

cultivate the habit of a “good forgetfulness” so that

we can follow Christ into the future he desires for us.