Behold, I am making all things new…Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.
Revelation 21:5 (ESV)
The past weighs heavy on the present. Its pressure and influence exert an intolerable presence on the present. Unbearable and unforgivable, the past is a relentless master. Its will, hidden and elusive, nevertheless exists as an undeniable phantom. A master without form, the ghost of the past rarely cedes control of the present. Year after year, moment after moment, the past’s haunting presence grows as it bursts forth across the present and into the future. Both weak and strong, the past is an amorphous ghostly invader of the present. It bears force without form and is thus insidious in its desire. What is this desire? The past desires the present.
A past, uncontrolled and unrestrained, refuses the freedom of the present. The past haunts the present with failure, humiliation, and missed opportunity. As such, the past is willfully deceptive. It deceives the present, imparting past failures on an unsuspecting present. A haunting reminder of what the present cannot be when the past is master. The past endures as an oppressive spirit of control. Why cannot the present be free?
I don’t believe the past is inherently evil. This specter, masquerading as master, is nevertheless mastered by others. The past is the oppressor’s tool. It’s a tool of the powerful and elite, through which they dominate the fortunes of those seemingly lesser. Those that control the past subsequently control the present and future. Therefore, the past is a desirable prize. Such a tool makes a hauntingly powerful costume through which others repress, abuse, and haunt. Dressed as ghosts, the powerful fool the weak as boogeymen of persecution.
The oppressor knows the danger of the past. The past is what Johann Baptist Metz called, “dangerous memory,” a frightening prospect to our elite and powerful oppressors. This dangerous memory is identity, and the subsequent freedom that emerges from that identity. Consequently, the ghost of the past originates in the removal and denial of our identity. Wherefore the past impedes and denies our history. Therefore, the ghost of the past is a sham, a flim flam being that vanishes once named. The oppressor’s ghostly costume is exposed as the charlatan it is.
In a sense, the past suffers as the present suffers. There is a tragedy to the past when it’s used to subject the present. I seek liminality. I desire the freedom of the present and the redemption of the past. I search the promise of an unfettered present, without boundaries or limitations. I entreat for a past that serves the promise and hope of the present.
My desire for liminality is a desire for liberation. For a past that unfolds and is remade into the newness of the present. Where the past no longer haunts but acts as our guide toward a constant transition into an unknown and hopefully more just society. Liminality draws from the past to move forward and continue its orientation toward the future.
Liminality is opportunity. I await the remaking of all things new.
Photo by Søren Astrup Jørgensen on Unsplash