13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. 14 The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.
It was every actor’s worst nightmare.
I was once the lead in a comedic play and after intermission, the second act was supposed to begin with the lights coming up, me entering on the balcony to find another one of the characters asleep on the stage, then I wake him up and we have this hilarious scene that is vital for the progression of the rest of the show.
Well, one night, the lights come up, I enter on the balcony, look down, and no one’s there. Apparently, the actor didn’t know we were back from intermission yet and didn’t know to get on stage! I had absolutely no idea what to do. I stood there awkwardly, the audience waiting for me to say something – anything – when the actor bursts onto the stage, adlibs some sort of line to try to make sense of this change of events, and gets us back on track for the scene. I struggled – I was never gifted in improvisation. I kept holding onto what I already knew the scene to be and couldn’t bring myself to accept how it needed to change in order to get us to the end of the play. To this day, this performance bothers me.
Is this not what happens in our lives? We’re used to things being one certain way, maybe not even a good way, and we find ourselves so stuck on that, that we can’t seem to move forward. If we’re really looking for a fresh start, we need to be willing to do what our text from today is asking of us: to “forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead”.
It may not always be comfortable, and it may take a little improv, but it can get us to the prize!
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
The writer of today’s text, Paul the Apostle, is declaring to those who follow him that he is definitely a work in progress BUT in order to move that progress forward, there’s one thing he does – he let’s go of his past (and he had quite the past!) and not only moves forward, but actively reaches forward to what’s ahead. He reaches for the goal of being like Christ.
What is the thing you’re dwelling on this day that is keeping you from a fresh start?
What would it look like to not only focus on the present, but to reach for the future?
Prayer: Holy Lord, may we find You in our reaching, in our desire to move forward and start new. Amen.