But I am lowly and in pain; let your salvation, O God, protect me. (Psalms 69:29 NRSV)

During the Vietnam war, a young Vietnamese woman was killed. She left behind her husband and her young son. The husband, needing to provide for himself and the boy, traveled far and wide looking for odd jobs. Often he left the child with neighbors. After one long trip looking for work, the man returned to find his village demolished and his neighbors gone. Searching through the rubble, he found scattered about some small bones. He was sure that these were the remains of his beloved son. He wrapped the bones in cloth and carried them with him everywhere he went.

Many years passed, and one night the old man heard knocking on his door. He called out, "Who's there?"

"It is your son!" the voice outside replied. "My kidnappers set me free, and I have spent many years trying to find you!"

The old man yelled, "You are a fake and a cruel man. My son is dead. Leave me alone!" He would not open the door.

The pounding continued for a while, but then it stopped. The young man gave up and left.

The old man never found happiness. And he lost his son who was still living. Why? Because he was determined to hold on to the bones of the past.

May we give up the pain of our past to God, so that we can serve with joy!

Loving God, would you please take the baggage. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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