Looking to the Future
There’s a well-known quote from the 18th century British statesman Edmund Burke; "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." I’d like to recast that quote from a positive perspective; “Those who know their history are privileged to repeat it.” Knowing our own history is not just about avoiding future mistakes. It’s also – and perhaps more so – about learning from the best actions of our past to inform our future.
This learning from the past to inform the future occurs on all levels of our lives. Our tendency as individuals is to either focus too much on our past mistakes, or to enshrine our best memories until they are better than the events as they actually occurred. But if we can look back on our lives and make an honest assessment of our successes and our failures (and the successes and failures of those with influence over our lives), we can gather lessons to carry us into an effective and happy future.
This same principle applies in our families, our friendship groups, our churches, and in our civic and political life at all levels. We have much to learn from the successes of our past, as well as from our failures. While we want to avoid laying a rosy patina over events that deserve a more honest evaluation, we benefit from looking for the good in the past actions of our ourselves and others, especially when those actions and decisions took place in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Hebron Presbyterian Church began with a handful of committed individuals who determined to do “a new thing” in their context of 19th century rural Virginia. The challenges they faced were no less daunting – though different – than the challenges faced by our churches, today. As we approach the 175th anniversary of our congregation, we have the opportunity to look back at what was happening in this place, at that time, and to let the experiences of our forebearers inform our future.
In our most recent newsletter, you’ll find a special feature article by Mack Curle about national and regional events occurring around the time of Hebron Church’s founding in 1843. Mack researched and produced this article at the request of the Heritage planning committee, and we are so grateful for his work and his clear and accessible writing. I hope you will take time to read this article, to learn more about what the earliest members of our congregation might have been thinking about and praying about in 1843.
With prayers for your journey,
Connie Weaver, Pastor