See the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare. Isaiah 42:9
Our faith stretches back into history like the roots of a mighty oak stretch into the earth, grabbing at the earth and clutching onto the bedrock beneath.
But, our faith is not just a lesson in history. It’s not enough to say “this is what we’ve always done,” or “this is what God did a long time ago.” We might have worn our bathrobes and beach sandals in the Christmas pageants a few weeks ago, but we eventually have to take the robes off.
Our faith isn’t just an exercise in the past, and we can’t pretend like it is. Or forget that it isn’t.
The things that God did in the past point towards what God is still doing today, and what God might do tomorrow. The former things have come to pass, and we should celebrate them. And know them. And teach them. Savor them.
But, like a fresh shoot bursting forth out of the ground, the new things of God are still happening. Our faith didn’t just happen.
John the Baptist took the people of Israel out into the wilderness, to the River Jordan. It’s where the People of God had finished the exodus, and crossed into the Promised Land a millennium and a half earlier. God had done something incredibly amazing 1,500 years ago.
But, John wasn’t there for a history lesson, he was there to declare the new thing that God was doing in Christ. And there was Christ baptized, in those waters which set a people free. In those waters of new life and liberty. In those waters of salvation.
God is still setting us free. God is still liberating us. There are new Promised Lands that we are being led into. We are still washed in those waters.
But, eventually we have to take the bathrobe off.