Helen and I recently returned from a holiday visiting the Mayan archaeological remains in Belize and Mexico. It was a fascinating trip and we were privileged to see the pyramid – like structures and the wide plazas situated deep in the jungle areas. The Mayans were an extraordinary people and were able to build quite complex structures and yet had not invented the wheel! The Mayan calendar is probably the most well known of their achievements and reflects their unusual concept of time. We think of time as linear with the future ahead of us and the past behind us, but in Mayan thinking, time is circular and the past is in front with the future behind! There is no point in looking forward to the future as we don’t know what it holds but we do know what has happened in the past and that can inform our actions in the present.
Christians will soon be commencing their Lenten spiritual journey culminating in Holy Week when we remember the events of the last week of Jesus’ life over 2000 years ago. The past, as it is recorded in the New Testament, is certainly important for us since we believe that the Scriptures speak to us in our time and guide our daily living, but we must not be focused only on the past. For Christians, the future is not a ‘closed book’ because the Christian message is positive about the future as a consequence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the event that is the pivotal point in history! Jesus is alive today and is made known to us through the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself said “…and remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). With all of the uncertainties that this year will bring – Brexit being one – Christians are called to be ‘change makers” and positive about the future, whatever it holds, knowing that as the Psalmist says “my times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:15).