Don’t Look Back
(…you’re not going that way)
But Lot’s wife,
behind him, looked back,
and she became a pillar of salt.
At the turn of the year, once all the crackers have been pulled, the turkey picked over, and the last mince pie has been prized from its foil casing, my thoughts turn to Television. The Christmas specials, of course, take priority of place (in the New Vicarage it’s a case of Doctor, Strictly, Midwife,) and then onto the assorted reviews of the year past.
The BBC news team are particularly good at compiling soundbites, outtakes and factlets on a range of topics from Current Affairs to Arts & Music and Sport and I enjoy most of them. However, in all my delving into the delights of things past, I know I need to walk the line between ‘learning from history’ (and so not be ‘doomed to repeat it’) and living in the past and find myself standing on the condiment shelf alongside Lot’s wife.
As the year turns, a modern aphorism perhaps rings true for each of us;
‘Don’t look back,
you’re not going that way.’
In an ever more complex world, where little seems certain and everything is changing (most often for the worse) the temptation to long for the ‘Good Old Days’, when living was easy and settled, is strong. Which person in their right mind would give up their home and livelihood and step out into the desert at the urging of an angel? Some days when I’ve spent a day or two spinning ecclesiastical plates, I don’t blame Lot’s wife! Why can’t things just stay the same? Why can’t we have more of the familiar and less of the confusing?
Down the ages there have been many attempts at recreating the past, a trying to preserve life in aspic, but they have all failed as change is inevitable and is, in fact, the only real proof of life. Yes, learn from the past but look to the future.
‘Where is the future?’ we may ask. Travelling with Lot and his uncle Abraham, Mary and her husband Joseph and the baby Jesus, is to find ourselves on a road out into the desert and a future that is an unknown territory. But though the future may be unknown the way is not.
We travel with the God of the Desert who always speaks to us in the desolate places were manna and quail and water are provided.
The journey into the future need not be a journey into the unknown. Holding out our hand we can be held by the One who holds the future and who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Blessings – Andrew
(This article ‘Don’t Look Back …you’re not going that way’ appeared in the January 2020 edition of the magazine of the Parish of Felixstowe and is copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2019. It may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged]