Stepping into the Past…to Go Forward
By Joann Condit of Phoenix, AZ, USA
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. —Hebrews 12:1–2 NRSV, adapted
Perhaps most of our lives are dotted here and there with stretches of discouragement or dissatisfaction. Sometimes our faith is not as strong as it once was. The reasons are many and, more often than not, valid. Sometimes we need to renew ourselves. I had reached a point in my life when this renewal was critical, and with a sense of desperation, I grasped the opportunity to join the historic sites tour. Every journey begins with a single step. For this journey, the first step was backward into the past.
We launched into the tour with a short worship service in the Kirtland Temple. The next ten days were a joyful reminder of those who bless our lives by their presence. We appreciated meeting folks again who had been active in the church decades ago and who continue their devotion today. The sum of all their years of service would be staggering.
It was also an enormous blessing to see the young guides of our trip. They picked up where many of us left off, and they fulfill their responsibilities joyfully. They exhibit a natural joy of life that lifts our spirits and gives us all new courage and strength to continue our own journeys.
Do we now have a new appreciation for those pioneer souls who came before us? Yes, indeed we do. Do we feel renewed in our own areas of ministry? We surely do. We have always tried to offer ministry, but we feel more keenly than ever that we are all called to serve, and there is never a time to decide that we have served long and well enough.
Those faithful, early disciples provided a strong platform from which to launch generations of love and gratitude and service. So also is it our mandate to be the shoulders upon which the next generation can stand.
Prayer for Peace
God of the past, present, and future, thank you for the witness of those who started the journey. Thank you for those who continue in faith. Thank you for the children who are our future. Thank you for Christ, our pioneer of peace.
Spiritual Practice: Continuing Revelation
One Enduring Principle of Community of Christ is Continuing Revelation. We are a people always “becoming,” always changing as God shapes us. In prayer, listen deeply to the name, “Community of Christ.” Write or say a prayer asking God to continue to form us through our name. Listen deeply to what it would mean to live in community, following and sharing the way of Christ.
Today, God, I will look to my faith’s history to appreciate those who inspired my current faith community.