Remembering - part 1
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:1,2)
Sometimes it’s the simplest of questions that catch me out. During one of our recent Sunday Morning Services, we said goodbye to the Rutter family as they move from Richmond. They have served our church wonderfully for many years and have been dear friends to lots of us. I was standing at the back of the church with a camera in hand when a young child came up to me and asked “Why are you taking photographs?” It caught me on the hop, and for a few moments, I was speechless. But eventually, an answer came out along the lines of “Because I forget things and want to be able to remember them.”
I’m now of an age where I often find myself in the classic situation of climbing to the top of the stairs and then wondering why I came up them! But actually, I think it’s more than just an age thing. We all live in a complex world where we have to process and retain a vast amount of information in lots of different contexts - home, family, work, friends, community, church - and receive it in a whole variety of ways. And while a few people seem very good at retaining things in their heads, most of us have to rely on diaries, reminders, notes, files or whatever to hold onto the things that really matter. Our capacity to forget is huge.
And that’s where my camera comes into play. Photographs are one of my memory joggers, reminding me of people I know and have known, events I’ve been part of and places I’ve been to. When I look back at them, especially when life is tough, when disappointments come or when it’s difficult to see or understand what God is doing, they are a clear reminder of how God has been good to me in so many ways. To me, they point to His faithfulness, generosity and care. They shout out that while life may be messy and challenging at times, He’s been with me in the past, and is now, and always will be.
Remembrance is a really important theme throughout the Bible. The word remember occurs well over 100 times, let alone all the mentions of not forgetting. There are multiple accounts of memorial stones that pointed to God; God sent a rainbow after the flood to remember His covenant that ‘never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life’ (Genesis 9:15); Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper to help us remember what His death has done for us. Time and time again we see God creating ways for people to remember what He’s done. He longs for us to live in remembrance.
Lord, thank you for all that you are to me, for all that you have done for me. Please help me to find more ways of remembering, so that I can live with a stronger confidence in your unfailing love for me. Amen.