When I go back to places where I have lived and worked in the distant past, I recognize few and few if any know me. As I recall past events that occurred during my sojourn in that place, both joyful and painful, I realize that community’s current occupants do not share the memories.
My photo still hangs in the library of the first parish I served in California. But its image shows a young fellow with a mustache and long dark hair. I could stand right beside it today and no one would draw a connection. Only a handful of the members with whom I served are still there or still living, and even to them I would appear as a stranger. Similarly, none of the 100 or so Lutheran bishops for whom I provided support as their conference’s chief staff person two decades ago are still in office.