“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’” –Jeremiah 6:16
In searching through the old, I find something new. And so I went there yesterday . . . to the Cotton Exchange and Livery in downtown Fayetteville in search of my new.
I love old things, vintage items that date me by a few years. Linens, glassware, trunks, and clothing. Standing amongst them, I travel through time, taking a step backward, a step inward to feel what it must have been like to first wear that shawl, hold that hankie, or cook with that iron skillet. Immersed in all things vintage, I pay respect to the generation that first embraced the newness of these treasures. Used and preserved over the years, they’ve outlived the people they first served. They now serve as a witness to the lives lived before me. What stories they tell me . . . mostly imagined, yet relevant for me in the search for my new!
The story that comes before me is the anchor that writes the story now in me and the story that will follow after me. I need to visit the old, to rediscover my roots so that I might move ahead with understanding. So that I might find rest for my soul.
As it goes with my search for all things vintage, so it goes with my faith. To move forward requires a pause at the crossroads, a deeper immersion in the culture and times of my spiritual ancestors. Being with them in their history via the lens of Scripture is like finding a compass for the road ahead. Living with their old brings new perspective into my right now. Antiquity isn’t wasted when it comes to faith. Antiquity enhances faith. That which once was still is. Faith lives on, above extinction.
And so I go in search for the old, because that which is new is not always that which is best for my soul. Old things, ancient treasures, and a faith that lives in antiquity, this is where newness of heart and life can be found. With Abel and Enoch. Noah and Abraham. Isaac and Jacob. Moses and David. Gideon. Rahab. Samuel and Daniel. Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the prophets of old. John the Revelator and John the Baptizer. Peter. Paul. Mary and Martha. Stephen. Timothy. Elizabeth and Zechariah. Sarah. Ruth. Esther. And Jesus . . . always Jesus.
Yes, this is where I will stand, in the middle of their stories and then some. In doing so, I find my anchor and my rest. And that which is very old becomes new breath to my aging flesh. I breathe in the smell of an ancient faith, and I am revived.
The story that comes before me is the anchor that writes the story now in me and the story that will follow after me. Faith lives on, and by God’s grace, it lives on in me. Perhaps there will be day in the years to come when a future generation will take hold of something I have said or something I have done, that will thread them back to the heart of Jesus. I cannot imagine what that would be, but today I’m challenged to believe that there really could be . . .
A faith in me that survives extinction. A faith that serves the kingdom long after I’ve made the journey home to Canaan. Who will wear this shawl of faith that now cradles my shoulders? Who will see it as treasure, pay the asking price, and preserve it forward?
Old to new. New to old. The cycle of faith that never dies. Only lives.
Find yourself there, and find rest for your souls. I’ll meet you at the crossroads. As always . . .
Peace for the journey,