Remember the future? Is this another great Lutheran paradox? Is this some sort of reference to psychic ability? Or biblical prophecy? Is it some out there New Age idea?
Yes. It could be all of those abstract, subjective ideas; but it has a more practical meaning in the world right now.
In his 1997 book, Not Yet, Vincent Geoghegan uses the term ‘remember the future’ in reference to humanity’s ability to imagine and capacity to create a more desirable environment. Geoghegan’s definition takes the idea from the abstract into the practical. It gives us a sense that we can go beyond what we have been conditioned to believe is possible. We can achieve more than we ever thought plausible. How? How do we achieve what is beyond our imagination?
We look to the past to build the future.
Today in Augsburg’s chapel service, we commemorate All Saint’s Day. We give thanks for the lives of the saints who are no longer physically present with us on Earth. As we remember the lives of the saints who have gone this year, let us also remember that we are living in a time beyond the imagination of so many of them. We are living in the future they remembered and we are doing so thanks to the struggles, the imagination, and the hope of these and so many other saints.
Rep. John Lewis, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, C.T. Vivian, Katherine Johnson (NASA engineer, Hidden Figures) and so many saints from our own lives.
We pray this prayer of remembrance and gratitude:
Today O God, we remember all those saints who have gone before us. Their faithful lives and ideas form the foundation for our own lives of faith. We stand on their shoulders as we look at our present, knowing it is the future they remembered.
Today we remember those whom we cannot name: the homeless, the abused, the refugees.
Today we remember the names of those we know very well, those close to us, those we touched and held, those who touched and held our lives, those we loved and continue to love.
Our lives are an accumulation of memory, growing, evolving, and shifting. At times the memory slips away entirely, at times it catches up, taking our breath away. Today, we pause with thoughtful intention to hold the memory of those who have gone before us. We remember and we pray, we tend our memories of those whose lives make each of us what we are today.
We ask you to guide our lives in the way only you can, help us be the saints for the generations to come. May we be shoulders they can stand upon as they remember the future.
May it be so.