There are times in life when we are weary: weary of conflict, or pain, or uncertainty; when circumstances lead us to a place we did not choose, or we desperately try to hold fast to that which has gone.
Moving forward can be disquieting; the past can be comforting. Yet, we live in the moment, or at least we try to. Letting go of that which hinders us emotionally and spiritually is not an easy task: it takes courage, strength and more than just a modicum of insight.
By ourselves, the task no doubt seems insurmountable.
The other day I was reminded of the time I visited Ephesus in modern day Turkey. Sitting in the huge amphitheatre, under the blazing sun, I imagined the prosperous port city that it was, and the people who called it home. Among them, those early Christians, were no stranger to adversity and struggled as much with their faith, and the practicalities of living it out in a complex world, as we do. They knew all about existential angst – the human condition, where the past imposes its myopic presence on the here and now – smothering growth and potential.
That is why those words written to the Ephesian Church are so powerful. They speak to us as loudly today as they did to the fractious first century church, and call us gently to a new, more spirit filled way of living. Reflecting on on our own life circumstances – the failures, the people we have hurt, those who have hurt us, the insecurities and myriad imperfections we uncomfortably bear – Ephesians 4:31-32 invites us to let go:
‘Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you’.