The Past and the Future
“I am the Alfa and Omega,” says the Lord God,” who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
As you recall our discussion in Part Five of the Celestial and Earthly Citizenships, we were describing the use of Christian meditation as a flashback. We will continue by providing a few examples of Biblical flashbacks.
During the Last Supper, Jesus knew of his imminent death and sufferings on the cross. He did not want his disciples’ faith to be shaken in the tumultuous hours that lay ahead. He gave them the promise of peace, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)
Since then, we Christians reflect on the mystery of Christ’s Passion by prayerful meditation. Collectively, our penetrating thoughts can be considered as a flashback directed backward to the many events that surrounded that historical time. It has wisely been said that a flashback pulls the past into the present.
Should Christians lose sleep over troubling aspects of their life? As we think about the past, present and future, we can use meditation from the perspective of hope. Keeping hope animated and functional is partially based upon reliving the memories of the good things we have experienced as followers of Christ and the difficult things God has brought us through.
Based upon the gratifying nature of substantive meditation, we should never forget what God has done for us in the past. These blessings that have been bestowed on us can fuel our faith in Him in the here and now (the present) as well as our coming days (the future) while on earth.
Remembrances as Flashbacks
Other Biblical examples of flashback include Gods’ great desire for the Israelites to remember their bondage in Egypt. Moses told the Israelites “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand…” (Deuteronomy 5:15)
Another example of flashback comes from Jesus’ well-known commandment to remember his Last Supper which provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "Holy Communion". In Paul’s letter written about 2000 years ago to the Corinthian church, we read that Christ took bread “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11: 24, 25) This is a clear command for Christians to remember the profound reason why he died on the cross for all mankind.
In the context of our theme on past, present and future we see an interesting verse of this passage. In the next verse (26), Paul states “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” According to analysis of this verse by several commentaries, when the Lord’s Supper is enacted by worshipers, the ceremony proclaims looking back (flashback) on Christ’s life and death and looks forward (flashforward) to his second coming.
More will come on the topic Celestial and Earthly Citizenships as Christians live their daily lives and anticipate what lies ahead.