Reverend Ryan Downing
Reverend Ryan Downing
Ryan Downing has been pastor of Faith UCC since September 2016. He has a passion for exploring faith, spirituality, and the common good with others, both in and outside the church.

Muscatine Living

“Whoa!” my wife and I said to each other as we looked at this year’s edition of our childrens’ back-to-school photo, “When did they get so big!?”
Right around the same time, I celebrated another birthday. “Whoa!” I thought to myself as I blew out the candles on my birthday cake, “Where did all the time go!?”

Back when I was a kid, the one thing I hated more than anything else was the idea of having my own birthday party. I used to drive my mother crazy by refusing to have friends over for cake. Looking back, I can now see that my stubbornness was rooted largely in personal shyness and social anxiety.

Now, however, as I set out on my forty-sixth year of life on this planet, I still don’t like to make a big deal about my birthday, but I do wholeheartedly embrace the notion that birthdays ought to be celebrated as doorways into tomorrow. First days of school ought to be cherished as awkward and monumental leaps into a new day. And, the changing of the seasons ought to be cause for awe and wonder at the delicate cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

How we understand time can either be restrictive or liberating. Holding on to yesterday and any regrets we might harbor can keep us stuck in the past. Welcoming the newness and surprise of each day, however, can free us to learn, grow, and share in ways we might not have previously imagined.

“At least you still got tomorrow,” a kind stranger said to my daughter and me on what was one of my low points this past summer. We were in the middle-of-nowhere-Utah on our way to a long-planned for backpacking trip, when our car broke down. Thankfully, this kind stranger came down the road and gave us a lift into town. However, he also gave us something even more valuable, a new perspective. The past is the past and there is no changing it. What we make of tomorrow, however, is up to us, and in this case, thankfully, through the kindness of a few other strangers, we were back on the road and on the trail the next day.

Now, as the long shadows of late summer start to appear and the hot days of August begin to give way to the cool nights of September, I can’t help but reflect on the passage and sureness of time. Inevitably, just as something comes to an end, something new is sure to arise. Yesterday is sure to make a path into tomorrow, and tomorrow can never exist without yesterday, and in between the two is the present moment in which we all stand.

All of which is not to say that we ought not learn from and even reconcile with the past. However, from the first day of school to the first day of retirement, what lies ahead is ours to embrace, be challenged by, and even shape. In a word, from the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible, we can “choose life” each-and-every new day. We can choose to embrace all the surprising gifts that come with all of our tomorrows.

Latest News

Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine Announces $500,000 Grant

The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine announces a multi-year grant in the amount of $500,000 has been awarded from...

More Articles Like This

Muscatine Today

MTS- Brandon is here to talk about Fat Cat

Today on the show Scott Schultz from Impact Fitness and Nutrition is here to talk about more healthy fitness tips. Then if you are looking to get your car cleaned up from the winter listen to today's show to learn about a business in town that can help you with that and more..... Thank you to our show sponsors: Harpers Cycling and Fitness, Beckey Insurance, Muscatine Power and Water, RIVO Plumbing and Heating, ImpactLife Blood Center, Lutheran Living, Toyota of Muscatine, Impact Fitness and Nutrition, Sun Tan City Muscatine, Real Estate Resource Associates, UnityPoint Health Trinity Muscatine and Hy-Vee Muscatine #muscatinetodayshow #goodmorningmuscatine #KindnessIsFree

DMSN Broadcasts

Manta Rays Swim

Join us as the Muskie Boys Basketball team hosts the North Scott Lancers! Watch Your Way: Discover Muscatine Facebook Discover Muscatine YouTube DiscoverMuskie Twitter Muscatine Power and Water Cable Channel 3 Brought to you by Muscatine Power and Water, Muscatine Lawn and Power, Hy-Vee, Bayer of Muscatine, First National Bank of Muscatine, Affordable Metal Manufacturing, Eastern Iowa Power Washers, Arty’s Ice Cream and Grill, Rivo Plumbing and Heating, Riots and Rebelle’s Salon, Bickford Senior Living, Let’s Eat, Muscatine Community Y and the Youth Sports Foundation. #DMSN #MuskieSports #Muscatine #MuskieSchools #basketball #prephoops #prepbasketball

Talk of the Town

Chasing the American Dream!

I've always been an idea guy. I love sitting around a table, brainstorming with a group, and talking things through. This includes people considering...

Muscatine Area News

Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine Announces $500,000 Grant

The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine announces a multi-year grant in the amount of $500,000 has been awarded from the Mary Jo and Richard...