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CHURCH CORNER: Build your own memorial to God
By Dale Pratt
Pastor, Cedar Community Church
Today I’m thinking about reminders, icons, memorials.
The veterans memorial pole is set up in Buckley now as a reminder of the men who have so faithfully protected our freedom in this country. And, what a reminder it is! You cannot drive through Buckley without seeing our vets memorial. By the way, thanks to all those who made that memorial happen. It’s clear and majestic and fitting for our community.
A memorial is simply a reminder of something important. We do things as simple as tie a string around our finger to remind us of a task we have to do. We wear a wedding band as a memorial to that important date and commitment we made. We place pictures around our house to remind us of important people and events. We have artwork to remind us of something good. We set a day aside to honor important people or events. And, we only rarely keep items to remind us of painful events, or people who have brought us pain. As a matter of fact, we will often destroy items that remind us of the painful events; that makes sense.
A subject that comes up often at Cedar is how God intervenes in our lives – we call this intervention a miracle. It’s often pointed out how small miracles so often occur and whether or not we recognize them, and if we remember to remember that God has supernaturally visited our little life in such a wonderful way.
When the people of Israel were leaving Egypt (you can read the reminder story in Joshua 4:1-9), God told them to set up memorials as a continual reminder of his intervention in their lives. So, the Passover was instituted to remind them of his miraculous intervention at their leaving.
Then, a couple of days later, when they were crossing the Red Sea with the pharaoh and his army in hot pursuit, God miraculously opened up the water, made the water molecules stand on end and formed a wall of water that didn’t fall down on them. And when it was all over, God had them carry 12 large stones out of the bottom of the sea bed – one for each tribe of Israel – and make a pile of rocks as a memorial. His reasoning was that in the future, when their children asked what the pile of rocks was all about, they could tell them the story of God’s miraculous intervention and deliverance when they left Egypt.
Reminders. Memorials. Markers. What do you have in your life to remind you that God has done great things for you? If you’re one of those folks who says that God hasn’t ever done anything great for you, then this question isn’t for you; just ignore me and go on your merry way. But if he has, then I’m challenging you to explore what you do to remember how good God has been to you.
When I was younger, I thought I was tricky or gifted or strong or talented or smart or clever or…whatever! A friend told me at my birthday a couple of weeks ago that “statistics have proven that the more birthdays we have the older we become.” I thanked him…and I don’t want to just get older. I want to get wiser. The older I become, the more clearly I see that the significant events of my life are because God – the God who speaks existence for items and planets and life and rocks and such – has supernaturally intervened in my life and I’m alive today and I’m where I am today – my office, my house, my car, my family, my friends, my stuff – because he has walked with me and worked in my life.
Whew! I’m learning to be amazed in new ways and it’s not always about something today. I’m coming to new realizations of events a couple of decades ago. God is really, really good to me! And, I don’t always either recognize it or memorialize it.
I guess if I memorialized everything God did in my life, my little world would be a total clutter of memorials for one thing or another. Then, I’d most undoubtedly forget what I was supposed to remember that thing was reminding me of.
What’s significant today is that God has done wonderful interventions in my life and I’m grateful. I have a few reminder items around me to remind me to not forget that God indeed does constantly visit my life and show himself in such a beneficial way for me.
What’s God doing for you? Are you remembering it was him? What are you doing to remember it was him? You’re not just wandering on, thinking you’re “all that” are you?
Good. Now, build a memorial and remember how good God is to you and don’t be afraid to tell your kids or friends or whomever will listen, what your little pile of rocks is all about. It’ll do you both a world of good.
Pastor Dale Pratt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.