Forty years ago this week the first Star Wars movie was released.
U2 is doing a 30 year anniversary tour of the band’s Joshua Tree album. They were at ATT Stadium in Arlington last night. I didn’t see the show.
Outside the front door of my church today there is a car show going on with classic vehicles from the 50’s-70’s and music from the same time period.
We love to look back. Sometimes it seems we cannot escape our past; sometimes we wish we could return.
I saw the first Star Wars as a 15 year old during a visit with my birth dad in North Carolina. I had little hope of seeing this blockbuster movie in my hometown, since the lines literally circled the block at the Cine Capri—the only theater where it was playing in Phoenix, AZ. However, there were very few people in the theater in downtown Weaverville, NC that summer day in 1977. I sat in the middle of the auditorium all by myself. I felt special. That day I also bought my very first record album: Hotel California by The Eagles. That was 40 years ago.
I went to the first concert of U2’s Joshua Tree tour at ASU Activity Center in April of 1987. It was enjoyable. Then on December 19th and 20th of the same year U2 concluded the tour at ASU Stadium. I was there both nights with young men from Arizona Youth Associates, the group home where I worked as Program Director. Tickets were only $5, very cheap even way back then. U2 wanted to be sure to fill the stadium both nights because they were filming the documentary Rattle and Hum. If you fast forward to the middle of that movie, you’ll experience some of what we did. It was amazing, far and away the best concert experience I’ve ever had. After the concert ended 60,000 people exited the stadium peacefully singing “40” together, which is a song based on Psalm 40.
Now, here’s the question: If I could go back 40 or 30 years ago, would I? Maybe for a visit, but I wouldn’t want to live it all over again. Movies and music help us to visit in a sense. However, I want to live today. Now that doesn’t mean I like our current time period better than the late 70’s or late 80’s. I really don’t. However, everything I’ve experienced, all of the lessons I’ve learned, and all of the life I’ve lived has been preparation for where I am now. I need to remember the past, but also forget the past. I must remember what I’ve learned, but forgive and forget the pain and evil caused by people. I also need to seek forgiveness from God (and others when it’s possible) for my failures and wrongs.
The most important decision I made in the past changed the trajectory of my life. I’m in a much different place than I could have been. At 16 years of age, on Easter Sunday to be precise, I committed my life to Jesus Christ. I received forgiveness for all of the wrong I did. That was 39 years ago, and the forgiveness has never stopped coming. I confess, he forgives. That commitment is something I cannot forget because Jesus has stayed with me and continues to transform me. Through all of the changes in my life and in this crazy world the unchanging Christ has been the constant. He has always been my leader and friend.