Memorials are an important part of God’s story in our lives and the Bible is filled with examples. God often uses these memorials to create a conversation that He expects to be passed down from one generation to the next. And this was particularly important for the ancient cultures who depended on their oral tradition as a primary means of communication. In fact, much of what they knew about God was based on the stories the children heard from their parents and relatives in their own social community. This is hard for us to appreciate in the digital age because we often don’t need other people to gain information. For example, if you want to know about a subject, all you have to do is “Google it”. As a result, we don’t often share our personal stories of how God is at work in our lives. In fact, I read a recent study that revealed 40% of church going Christian homes either rarely or never discussed spiritual matters as a family. It is the absence of these stories that can make God into a subject I might learn about instead of a person I get to know. That’s why I want to encourage the body of Christ to be committed to telling their story. We need to raise up the next generation of Christian disciples by teaching them how they might know the living God in a real and personal way as we have come to know Him ourselves. Take some time on this Memorial Day to consider how you might continue the tradition of men and women who have been faithful to tell their story.
Well, I went to visit my friend Lisa this weekend, just like I encouraged others to do. It’s easy for me to give out advice that I am unwilling to follow and so I took the time to go and visit my sweet friend in the Lord. Lisa was up in her chair and she grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go. She went on to explain (as she always does) how good God has been to her and what she has learned from listening to sermons and devotionals that she engages with most every day. Lisa spoke these words over the hum of a ventilator machine that was helping her breath. But that machine was the only reminder that Lisa was in poor health because her spirit is alive and well. During our conversation, she brought up the Easter message and told me, “I heard what you said brother Todd. Jesus is our only hope. I believe that.” Well of course she does. Unlike you and I, she isn’t distracted by the success of a career and the allure of riches. She doesn’t have a family or a marriage that is a security for her. Her health is failing and the promise of healing gives her no hope. Instead, she looks beyond this life and understands that the promise of hope is yet to come. Hope is not an emotion… hope is a person. About that time, I look over at her roommate Rose. Rose is paralyzed from the neck down and I have never seen her in any other position than lying motionless on her back. Mentally, she appears to be a bright person but a stroke has robbed her of her ability to speak. Although she can mouth the words, she cannot make the sounds. I try hard to understand what she says and so when I saw her trying to tell me something, I went up close to her face and watched her lips as she said, “I have that hope too.” Wow! What a humbling reminder. “If we are to hope in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1Cor 15:19) I can only pray that I can have the hope of Rose in both sickness and in health. A hope not limited to my present reality but in the promise of things that are yet to come. Hope is not an emotion... hope is a person. And that person is Jesus Christ. Thank you for the reminder Rose!