SPIRITUAL MATTERS: For Auld Lang Syne

It's easy to look back with regret! The world is constantly changing, and with the benefit of hindsight, we can often rue such changes.

When I was a teenager, I used to hear 'old people' expressing dismay at the changes in the world. Now that I'm very much older, I'm inclined to have a great deal more sympathy with those who look back and feel that we're losing values and quality of life at an ever increasing pace. And I think this Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated that impression.

When I was outfitting  our mini-coach as a motor-home, I decided to install a reversing camera. This would be useful tool - particularly as we intended carrying a motorcycle on a rack attached to the towbar or tow a small trailer with my Can Am Spyder trike on it - for transport and fun! But instead of hooking the camera up to the reversing light circuit so that it only came on when reverse was engaged, I hard-wired it so that it would be on whenever I chose to flick a switch. So now I'm able to keep an eye on what's happening behind me. I can also see where I've been! Rumour has it that some years ago one could purchase a small wooden toy ( called a 'Floogie' Bird)) that had a label around it's neck reading: "I fly backwards. I don't care where I'm going. I just want to see where I've been!"

The reality is, however, that we don't move ahead by constantly looking in the rear vision mirror - or camera. But looking behind is still an important part of our awareness of the journey we're on and checking that we're travelling okay.

Capella group Home Free
Capella group Home Free

Today I stumbled across a video of a vocal band - an a cappella group called Home Free - singing "Auld Lang Syne". It was an awesome version of this well-known classic and the harmonies blew me out of my tree! But I began to wonder what the song's title really meant. So I turned to that oh-so-useful on-line encyclopedia called Wikipedia and discovered that it's Scottish in origin and can be traced back to Robert Burns in 1788. Its title may be translated into standard English as "old long since" or, less literally, "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times".
Consequently, the words "for auld lang syne" , appearing in the first line of the chorus, could be loosely translated as "for the sake of old times".
Old times are important. Looking back has real value . That's why auld lang syne is frequently sung at the dawning of a new year. We look back in order to assess our ongoing journey  into the
future.

When Jesus embarked upon his earthly journey, he was conscious that his mission was the fulfillment of prophesies contained in the recorded history of God's people. But now God was initiating something new. The old ways had value, but needed refreshing. A new way was dawning.
I'm sure we need a refreshing today. Perhaps we need to look back, glean the very best from all that has preceded us, and incorporate that into a new, improved version of life that will stand us in good stead for the future.
Rather than decry or regret the past, a composite of all that is good - past and present - will enable us to build a future that is pleasing to God and full of promise. 



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