Hope for Living: Releasing purposeless pieces of past serves us well

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Phil Baisley is pastor of Greenfield Friends Church.

They’re back in their little zip-lock baggie and safely nestled in their cardboard shipping box on the kitchen counter, along with my wife’s and my son’s. Where are yours?

Perhaps I should explain. I’ve been thinking today about what to do with the dark glasses we all purchased to observe the great solar eclipse of 2024.

I must admit I’m glad Jen bought them for us. The eclipse was amazing, especially the 360° sunset just before totality. Putting on those glasses, and being able to see nothing but the Sun being covered by the Moon, slowly, inexorably, fascinated me.

And then it was over. What to do with the glasses? We won’t need them again until 2044. I might be alive. Will I find the box and reuse them? Probably not. I’ve seen people trying to sell them on eBay for hundreds of dollars. I doubt they will. Their time came and went. They’re not part of our lives anymore.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul writes about putting away childish things. He’s referring to patterns of thought and speech that served him well in childhood but are no longer needed for an adult.

I remember my childhood. I liked to play shooting games with the neighborhood kids: cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians. I expected my mom to wait on me hand and foot. I made fun of kids at school who weren’t as “cool” as I.

Thankfully, Jesus started working in me somewhere along the way. The things that seemed so important to me as a child — violence, self-centeredness, cruelty — needed to be boxed up and put away, not for twenty years, but forever. Fortunately, Jesus makes all things new. We grow out of our childish ways and into a life of the Spirit.

Of course, old things often turn up on our kitchen counters. Eclipse glasses, last week’s junk mail, petty grievances, vengeful imaginings, envy and greed. Seems the putting away of unneeded things never stops. We’re still growing up.

In the process of becoming new, old things must pass away. May the Spirit ever reveal to us those unneeded patterns and give to us the courage to let them go.

In the meantime, I think I’ll be getting rid of that box of glasses on the kitchen counter.

Phil Baisley is pastor of Greenfield Friends Church. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.