Now and again bloggers participate in what is called a Blog Carnival. It is a group of bloggers that all write about the same topic on the same day and then link to each others posts. I have been participating in a carnival called the One Word at a Time Carnival and this time the word was Remember.
It is funny that this is the word this time. Recently I attended a conference about future Orthodox unity in the Americas. Speaker after speaker talked about the future and then one speaker mentioned we need to honor and preserve the past as we move forward.
I think too many times in our lives we think the old is not any good and we need to throw it off to make room for the new. I find that a preposterous idea. As a student of history I have learned that we need to learn from the past so we do not make the same mistakes. We need to honor the memory of those who came before us.
My church, the Orthodox Church, is a church that is deeply rooted in tradition. Tradition is one of the major hallmarks if you will of the church and we claim and unbroken line back to the apostolic ministry of the 1st century church. Talk about remembering!
This year my parish will celebrate 85 years of ministry here in our little town. I was thinking as I prepare for all of the activities of the weekend the number of people that have crossed to door step of our church. Right outside my office door hangs a picture of the faces of the founding members of this parish. Some of their families are still here today and some have moved on. I often look at those faces and think of the stories that each one has. What brought them here from the land of their birth and what was the reason they stayed here. Each line in each face tells a story.
I will go to the cemetery sometime during the weekend to visit the grave of the first priest here at St. Michael. I try and visit his grave each time I happen to be at the cemetery but this weekend I will make a pilgrimage if you will. He was the founding priest and I like to ask him to pray for me in my ministry and help me with wisdom in this position. It makes me feel good to know that the first person to serve this church is praying for the current minister.
We must remember and never forget the past. We need to honor those who have come before us and learn from their wisdom and counsel. Sit with someone and talk about the past and learn from it. If we do not remember who will?
Fr. Peter-Michael Preble is the Pastor of St. Michael’s Orthodox Christian Church in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Read more of Fr. Peter’s writings on his blog at www.frpeterpreble.com.