Does the past, I wonder, teach us anything? Or does each succeeding generation have to encounter every tricky situation for themselves and find their own way through?
This week a Radio 4 reporter has returned to South Africa for the first time in twenty-five years. His reports about continuing repression and corruption, but this time administered by black rather than white officials, was deeply depressing.
So much in the Judaeo-Christian tradition is about remembering and learning from yesterday. The Jewish scriptures often proclaim: Israel, remember this…. And of course, feasts such as Passover and Communion have rememberance at their very heart.
It’s understandable when we lose patience with either ourselves or those around us who continue to make the same mistakes because they are deaf to the lessons from yesterday.
In his great poem about love and its ethical consequences St Paul wisely says: Love keeps no record of wrongs.
God treats us like this in his mercy and grace so surely we have to be open to such a generous and forgiving spirit too.
However many times the Prodigal comes round the corner, returning home seeking a new beginning…however many times, I believe The Father always runs to greet him with open, welcoming arms.