“You cannot go back in time,” says Jurgen Moltmann, a German theologian, in his discourse on the hope of the Christian faith. “A new heaven and a new earth” is not a ‘return to Eden’ but something beyond what has been evident in history, beyond our current realities and possibilities, beyond what we can even imagine. The future with God which we call the Kingdom of God holds something truly unique and new.It’s my birthday today, and now more than ever, I know I cannot go back in time. And more importantly, I do not want to. Not because I love where I am and who I have become. I still find myself in places where I wish I were somewhere else and have moments when I wish I could be more patient, less outraged, friendlier, not so straightforward and, yes, healthier, with more muscle and less fat.
I do not want to go back in time because I know I have a community of family and friends who will walk with me and cheer me on in the paths I choose to take. I have so many meaningful experiences that make me believe that there is good in the world and we can work for a better world, and we can only do it if we move forward. And, lastly, I am certain that there is so much more the world has to offer.
Ten years ago, I did not know I would love teaching in a seminary called UTS. A year ago, I did not have a clue that I was going to have the opportunity to study in Korea. Two months ago, I had the surprise of my life when Norman and some very close family and friends gave me an unforgettable surprise party. (where I got to wear a flower crown!) A week ago, I didn’t even know I would meet Jurgen Moltmann this school year. In June, my daughter will finally graduate from the University of the Philippines. (Finally!) And I will fly home to my people…
We cannot go back in time. God promises us something unique and new in the tomorrows yet to come. And the best part of it is — we create, participate and act with God.