And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”Acts 15:36
Journey of Revisiting
We loaded our two cars with enough clothes and supplies – including the fishing poles – for a week.
We were on a second “Five of Us” family road trip. This time the boys knew where we were going. Back to my first parish upon graduating from seminary – White Cloud, Michigan.
But we didn’t know what we would find there.
Our oldest had been born there, but we left when he was just a year old. My wife and I had not been back in twenty years!
The drive there was uneventful, for the most part. Our eldest drove the “support vehicle” carrying all our gear and our beagle. This was only the second long road trip for our beagle and he had a lot of energy barking at every single car he saw on the five hour drive!
Every time we called our son to check up on him, we could hear the beagle howl in the background.
In White Cloud we saw many of our dear friends from my first parish. Not much had changed in the twenty years. We all were a little older, a little wiser, but our friendships had not faded.
Sunday morning was wonderful! Worshiping with the people of Christ Lutheran in White Cloud was a profound experience for me. To see how they had grown since I first arrived fresh out of seminary.
God’s Gift of a Revisiting Journey
It was an incredible gift for me to and my family to revisit this special place. We had a wonderful lunch and an afternoon-long conversation with dear friends.
We revisited the baptismal font where our eldest son received his name from God.
During that week, we saw places that I hadn’t thought about in twenty years. We also spent time fishing and boating. We grew closer as a family.
All this a gift from our gracious God!
Revisiting the Past to Move to the Future
This “FOU” road trip was not merely a stroll down memory lane. We went on this trip to revisit the past, yes. But God’s intention was for us to grow stronger as a family and in our faith for the future.
Returning home, our youngest would begin his last year of high school. Our oldest, was nearing the end of his college years, including his college baseball playing days. Our middle son would continue to grow strong in mind and body and be able to find steady work.
My wife and I grew closer together and we would journey on in our ministry, starting new Bible studies and ministry opportunities at our present congregation.
God’s Gift of Revisits
God’s gift of memories and “revisits” help us understand what he has done for us in the past. This also helps us understand what he is doing in our present and will do in our futures.
I think this is why we “revisit” the past in our worship services – reading ancient texts, singing ancient songs, hearing ancient stories of salvation. The story of Jesus death and crucifixion is nearly 2000 years old. But we hear it each week anew.
Jesus is with us anew each week in the Sacrament of the Altar. Our sins are forgiven anew.
And we are sent out into the future with the blessing of God and the promise of his presence.
What are your stories of revisiting the past? How did God gift you with those visits? What did you learn?
Heavenly Father, as I revisit the past, help me see what you were doing then. Help me see what you are doing now. Help me see what you will do for me in the future. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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