June 29, 2016
I was visiting with a young couple who wondered about the history of our church and the development of the campus. The church is 65 years old, and I have been on staff for nearly half of those years. Having researched the early years, I have a degree of confidence when discussing this topic.
There are people and events that mean a lot to me and have influenced my life over the past decades. During our conversation, I felt both joy and heartache as I visualized faces and relived history, but I could tell that my words were nothing more than a story to this couple. They were interested but felt no personal connection.
When I walk through care centers to visit the current residents, I remember the people who occupied these rooms in the past. Some were in rehab and went back home to continue life on Planet Earth, but others have gone on to Heaven. History has an impact on my life during these times – both the memories of people and the reminder that someday I might be in one of those rooms.
If I were to visit the ranch in Colorado where I grew up, I would visualize where the buildings stood, recall memories of life in that place, reflect on lessons learned and remember the people who made my life there a wonderful experience. But to someone who was not there during those years, the place would be just another house with a few old buildings surrounded by trees. I could tell many stories, but listeners would have little emotional connection.
When I study American history, I realize how much effort was given to developing and securing this great country. I appreciate the story and try to do my part in preserving and maintaining what has been handed to me, but I do not feel the emotional connection that would be there if I had lived in that era.
As I read the Bible, I am sometimes moved to tears when I realize what Jesus endured to pay the cost of my sin and make it possible for me to have an eternal relationship with Creator God. I want this to be more than a story. And although I was not there, the Spirit of God can help me connect in a way that makes me feel as though I were. History has so many benefits, and my life today is a product of it. I want to leave a memory that will benefit others.
Pastor Bill Ehmann