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Past, Present, and Future

“One generation shall extol your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”

–Psalm 145:4


Recently, a small group of volunteers came together to form a new Historian Team for Friends Church, with the purpose of identifying, collecting, organizing and storing items of historical significance to our church, and reorganizing our church library. Our historical archive files were moved into the main office area, and a few folks have been going through those to determine what we need to digitally scan and how best to preserve these important records of our past.


I’ve looked through some of these files before, and I’m always amazed at how easy it is to get lost for hours in viewing pictures, reading letters and old worship bulletins and newsletters, and appreciating all the people that have built such a strong foundation for our ministry over the years. I’ve always been a big history fan, having studied it in college and thought for a while about teaching, so I really appreciate the importance of telling these stories and preserving the artifacts of our past.


One of the documents that I came across while perusing these files was a document prepared by the South Central Conference of the United Church of Christ, outlining plans for a new church start in the College Station area, which would eventually become Friends Church. The document laid out the rationale for the new congregation, demographic information, and hopes for the future of the UCC in the Brazos Valley. I was amazed to read about the rapid growth of B/CS in the prior decade, and some of the projections for the years ahead. Little did they realize just how much more this community would expand!


The other amazing thing about this document for me was the date on the cover page: November 19, 1977. The day of my birth. That connection, of Friends Church coming into being as I was, left me breathless. It was a reminder to me that the past isn’t just something distant or remote—it has echoes right into the present moment, and connections to our lives right now. The foundations that others have laid provide the place where we stand now; the things we do and relationships we form in the present will have lasting impacts far beyond what we can envision in the moment. We are all linked in a chain of connection and relationship—one to another, past to present to future—all held in the grasp of our Creator.


In the book of Deuteronomy, God tells the people of Israel to always remember who they are and where they come from:


“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).


In other words, keep telling your story. Don’t forget your history. And know that you belong to all who have come before and all who will follow. And most of all, you belong to the One who made you and sustains you in love.


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