I've heard it said many times in different ways, if we don't learn from the past we're bound to repeat it. We keep repeating the same mistakes in new ways. And we forget the good things that happened that we can learn from too.
It makes we wonder about how disconnected we are from our past in the church today. I remember when I was growing up, every time my church anniversary rolled around we took the time to celebrate and remember both the good and hard. Pictures of the churches past were brought out and stories were shared. I don't remember the last time that happened. I was still a child when it did.
There is so much we have to learn from that history. But with each year fewer people know it. I wonder if we're losing the stories of God's faithfulness and provision in the past. The stories of how that part of God's family followed God and made decisions.
We have our current stories. We have the memories that we make each year. And those are all great. But we can't forget the times before that. The current stories are built on top of the older ones to record the God-filled history of our church.
We need to hear the good stories, the exciting ones. We also need to hear the stories of the struggles and God's faithfulness in the midst of them. These stories give us courage and renew our resolve in the midst of current struggles. We need to understand where we came from and why things were done the way they were. Knowing them makes us stronger going forward.
When we know the stories of our past, we learn from the good and bad of them. It helps us make decisions going forward. It encourages us to keep going.
If we refuse to learn from the past of our church we're making a huge mistake. The stories must be shared. They are what make us who we are today.