One day a few years ago, as I was backing out of a parking space, something snapped under the stick shift in my car. Suddenly, I could no longer change gears. I was stuck in reverse!
Knowing how to travel backwards is surely a helpful skill for maneuvering — not only a car — but our lives. There are times we must admit we’ve made a wrong turn and reverse course until able to return to the proper route. There are other times when we find ourselves stuck in tight spots — relationally, financially, etc. — and backing up a short distance is the only way to get moving again.
It is helpful to be able to go back occasionally — to reflect on where we were one year ago, or five years, or 25 years. Such memories can help us see more clearly where we are headed. Sometimes, however, we can get stuck in reverse, trying to relive past glories, seeking to return to “simpler times,” wanting to live in a world that is no longer here.
But God often calls to us from the future, inviting us to dream of new places our lives might take us, to imagine new directions we need to take. That can’t happen when we are stuck in reverse.
As these days in the Church draw us nearer to the cross of Christ, may we only shift into reverse when that will help us move forward into the days of new life God is preparing for us.
Rev. Tim Darmour-Paul
Grantfork United Church of Christ