Taking his inspiration from the battlefields of the Second World War and notable historic figures, the Minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church, Rev Dr David Latimer, has urged people not to worry over what the future may hold.
“In the air raid on Coventry in November 1940, only 30 of the 1,000 buildings in the city centre were undamaged.
“During the re-building, the remains of the old cathedral were linked with the new in such a way that the old and the new became one entity. The end of the old year and the beginning of the new is a time for linking our memories of the past and our hopes for the future so that we can make the present really worth living,” he said.
“Its in our nature, however, to look back. Notwithstanding, instead of focussing on the past and, for that matter worrying about the future, over which we have no control, we must learn to live in the present for that is where our influence is greatest. Einstein recommended people should learn from the past so as to live in the present, which is not dissimilar to advice offered by Maya Angelou who said ‘when you know better you do better.’
“Grievous wounds sustained on the battlefield of life and heart-breaking episodes encountered during life’s journey can neither prevent the sun from shining or stop anyone from singing the song of the overcomer,” he said continuing: “By God’s grace all can learn to live in the present and let go of the past and this comes about when we allow the Maker of all of us to touch the hurting places in our lives. God can amazingly take the misery out of the memory like you take the poison out of an insect bite. This can be the beginning of the healing process.
“Job, who suffered more than most, lived long enough to see these words fulfilled: ‘You shall forget your misery; you shall remember it as waters that pass away’.
“To all whose flesh has been pierced by the splinters of crucifixion, stand in the stream of God’s love so that your pain can begin to ease. It was night; it can become day. Let God hold you safely and securely in His arms. There you can allow the past to fall from you like a garment. You may remember it but you won’t have to wear it anymore. ‘You shall lie down and none shall make you afraid’. Just think, no more pacing the floor, no more bad dreams, no more fear of the future,” Dr Latimer said.
“If the past can somehow be seen as a rudder to guide us and not as an anchor to drag us we will, at the beginning of our voyage into the unknown of a New Year, be enabled to sail away from the safety of the harbour to dream, to discover and to help shape a better and brighter living space for people of every creed and culture.
“Rise up in Christ’s name and take authority over every memory that keeps you linked with the past and invite God to heal your scars, dry your tears and set you free,” he said.