August 24th, 2009

Last weekend during our family’s visit to Mom and Dad to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, we spent a lot of time looking at pictures from the past and listening to stories.  Some of those pictures and stories were of grandparents and great grandparents who died many years ago.  Other anecdotes and images were more recent.   It’s called “remembering,” and it brings a family closer.

“Remembering” is what we will be doing this Sunday at Corinth as we look through a scrapbook of photos, articles, and turning points over the last 50 years.  Yes, I know it’s about a “building,” and a building is only a container for the church inside.  But a face in a picture only represents a shell as well – it’s the person inside whom we love and remember.

As we spend our time “remembering,” we will be doing what God’s people have done for thousands of years.  This morning I was reading Ezra’s prayer of confession recorded in Nehemiah 9.  Most of the prayer is “remembering.”  Odd, isn’t it, that a prayer of confession would include a recitation of national history?

Maybe it’s not so strange.  “Remembering” the past, even the long-buried past, changes us.  It humbles us about our own place, our own wisdom, our own contribution.  It makes us thankful for those who made today possible.  It makes us hopeful that what we do will matter to others in generations to come.  It teaches us lessons about faith and life, particularly when there are patterns (as there are in Nehemiah 9). 

Most importantly, “remembering” points us to God.  “Blessed be your glorious name.”  “You alone are the LORD.”  “You give life to everything.”  “You have kept your promise.”  “You came down…you spoke.”  “You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” 

All these phrases (and more) are in Nehemiah 9.  The worship and trust are provoked by “remembering.”

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