In January I wrote the following words: “I am a pilgrim like you, journeying along (or in my words, “rambling”) the path of life. As an ordained pastor facing the end of this part of my life I thought it might be interesting for you to read a short summary of what I have found to be important life lessons which the Creator has laid on my heart.”
During the past months I have shared with you my reflections on the following themes: who we are as a body–mind–spirit being; Jesus as the Way with comparisons to Lao Tzu; the relationship between thoughts and feelings (“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you,” Isaiah 26:3); and the K.I.S.S. teaching from Micah 6:8.
This, my last “Rambling “ with you, will reflect on the theme of “letting go.” I remember as a child going with my father to the Ringling Brothers Circus in Washington, D.C. I was fascinated watching the trapeze artists at work. I remember being frightened when I first saw the person let go of the swing and somersault through the air. At the last second the “catcher” arrived on the other swing to “save” the first person from falling to their doom. Looking back on that early memory, I believe that the seed was planted in my brain of the importance of letting go, for the life of the trapeze artist would end if he refused to let go of the swing and move forward through space to complete his journey!
Jesus offered numerous insights into the importance of “letting go.” To those of us who want to hold on to our possessions He said, “Do not store up (hold on to) treasures on earth . . .” (Matthew 16:19). To those who want to cling to the past Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back (holds on to the past) is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Others of us may want to hold on to our negative emotions such as anger, hatred, fear or worry. In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus tells us of all the things that may worry us in nine verses. And in the final verse Jesus says simply, “Do not worry about tomorrow.” Translation – let it go!
But what about people? Can we let them go? And what about Jesus? Can’t we at least hold on to Him? When Jesus arose from the dead, Mary, perhaps the closest human being to the Lord, reached out through her tears to touch Him and He said to her, “Do not hold on to me . . .“ (John 20:17). Jesus had earlier told his disciples that He would be leaving them and they were not happy with this teaching. In John 14:7 Jesus made it plain and simple – “it is for your good that I am going away.”
Jesus makes it clear that our growth and development as body-mind-spirit beings demands that we develop the ability and the courage to “let go.” Our time together as pastor and congregation is almost over. We must let go of this relationship. But please know that I will always remember you and all of the amazing times we have had together.
Because we’ve been friends, I can never be the same.
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