UNION — Sometimes forgetfulness is a good thing, but sometimes it is not a good thing as the Rev. Kermit Morris, pastor of First Baptist Church, told worshippers during this past Wednesday’s Community Lenten Service at Grace United Methodist Church.
Morris said that there was once an elderly couple who became concerned about their forgetfulness and so they went to see their doctor. He gave them both a complete physical and found they were in good health, but did suggest that they write down things they needed to remember.
When they got back home, the wife told the husband she wanted a bowl of ice cream and he said he’d get it for her. She told him to write it down, but he said he could remember a bowl of ice cream.
But, she added, she wanted strawberries on top of her ice cream, and again told him to write it down. He refused, saying he could remember a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.
She then said she wanted whipped cream on top of the strawberries and again told him to write it down. He again refused, saying he could remember a bowl of ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream on top.
Twenty minutes later the husband returned with a plate of eggs and bacon. This made the wife very angry, and she told her husband that he should have wrote himself a note because he’d forgotten her toast.
Morris told this story during the celebration of the Fifth Week of Lent at Grace United Methodist Church Wednesday afternoon.
Traditionally, Lent lasts for 40 days, the number of days Jesus spent in the wilderness following his baptism by John the Baptist and prior to beginning His earthly ministry. Wednesday was the sixth in a series of Community Lenten Services that began on Ash Wednesday and will continue through Easter. Each service features a Meditation sermon delivered by a different minister from a different church in Union County.
During his Lenten address, Morris urged the worshippers not to be forgetful like that couple, but instead be forgetful the way God wanted the Jewish people to be in the Book of Isaiah.
16 Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow.
18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
— Isaiah 43:16-21 (KJV)
Morris said that this message was given to the Jewish people during the Babylonian Captivity, the 70 years following the fall of the Kingdom of Judah, the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple of Solomon. He said that the message Isaiah gave to the Jewish people was to not dwell on the past to the point where they lost all hope for the future. Isaiah was telling them that God was still there, still all-powerful, and still working on behalf of His people and would perform even greater miracles on their behalf than He had for their ancestors.
That message applies to God’s people today, Morris said, pointing that all too often even Christians look back to the past as a golden time, despairing about the present and the future. He said that like the Jewish people in Babylon, Christians can become so focused on the past they forget that God and His works on their behalf are not things of the past, but things of the present and the future.
This tendency to look back to the past is often wrapped up in a belief that present troubles are insurmountable and nothing can be done about them. Morris said that this is the wrong attitude to take, as there is no problem so great that God cannot provide a solution to it and therefore Christians should place their trust and faith in God just as the Jewish people were urged by Isaiah to do.
Morris said in remembering the past, Christians should not dwell in it, but instead use it to help guide them to make better decisions and become better persons. The past should remind Christians of what God can do and inspire their faith in His ability to do even more on behalf of His children in the future.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.