First United Methodist Church
FROM THE PASTOR
Western culture owes much to the Greeks and Romans. Philosophy, Christian Theology, and our judicial system, for instance, are much indebted to Athens and Rome. Greek and Roman mythology permeates the English vocabulary. Our calendar is Roman. The first month of the year, January, is named for the Roman god, Janus. Janus was the guardian of portals and the patron of beginnings and endings. He is shown as having two faces, one in front, and the other at the back of his head. The symbolism is that the first month of the year is a time for reviewing the past and contemplating the future.
Many people are hesitant about looking back because of painful experiences in the past. Leroy “Satchel” Paige gave us that much quoted quip: “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.” There are people whose life experiences are such that they feel something dangerous or hurtful from their past is forever closing in on them. It is axiomatic that being preoccupied with the past may well endanger one’s future. There’s some truth to the “Satchel Paige Philosophy” but it’s not the whole truth. It should be heard with one ear. Inattention to the past can cause us to repeat old mistakes that present themselves in new forms.
If ever we’ve experienced “crash course” lessons, it’s been 2020. But to be candid with you, I’m concerned that the past will arrest us. We have learned deeply and painfully…but let’s don’t stay there. There is a future. There is life to be lived and we cannot move toward it while simultaneously looking in the rear-view mirror. We know we will never be the same….but that doesn’t have to be the final chapter.
As we squint into the foggy future with the forward-looking face of Janus, get ready for some surprises. Some of them will be good surprises – and some will be tough to take. Draw on the past for wisdom; trust God for what you cannot see, and play the hand you are dealt the best you can.
Get ready and welcome 2021. It is coming whether we are ready for it or not. Remember Janus – look both ways, and then keep on trucking.