Oh dear, it’s that time of year again! No, not Autumn (although it is), not the run up to Christmas (although that’s happening far too fast) but the time of year when I’m hooked to Strictly Come Dancing.
Although at the beginning of the season I may know only one or two of the names of the contestants by week four I am utterly captivated by them all. But the reality of life is that I’m not in to watch it every Saturday and Sunday evenings. I do have work to do and even a social life of sorts. So I am very grateful for iplayer which allows me to watch ‘Strictly’ at all sorts of odd time and in all manner of funny places.
I can remember a time before iplayer, set top boxes, videos etc when you didn’t get a second chance to see a favourite TV programme. If your weren’t there, in front of the TV at the right time you missed the show. Now, of course, we have many ways of catching up on things we have missed so the need to be at home at a particular time is passed. The ability to replay and relive favourite programmes is one we now take for granted. There are times we would like our lives to be like that too. To be able to rewind to experience something again, to relive a moment or, better still, to go back and do it better. I wonder what it would be like if we had something like iplayer for our lives?
Of course we have our memories. I recently heard someone on the radio say that anniversaries are when we are able to count the leaves on our tree of life. We recall not only our past joys but also the times we have failed and the mistakes we have made. So often these mistakes loom large in our memories – for some reason particularly at night.
This is where our memories differ from something like iplayer. If there is a TV program I didn’t like then I don’t bother to catch up with it later or I can skip the parts that I find disturbing. Not so with our memories. It is so often the bad bits that we play over and over again and these outweigh the good memories. It doesn’t need to be this way.
Jesus came, not to take the bad memories away but to transform them. His love for us and his death for us gives us the knowledge that we are forgiven for the bad things we have done. When these memories return we can say, ‘I have said sorry for that, God has forgiven me, now I can go on and do it better.’ Where we are reliving memories that hurt Jesus brings his healing peace and teaches us forgiveness. God doesn’t want us to carry either past memories of failure or of pain. He wants us to grow from our past and be the people he knows we can be.
iplayer allows us to watch our favourite TV moments time after time; memory enables us to relive our past; faith enables us to look at the past and improve the future. That’s so much better than a rewind or record button. That’s God’s remake option.