Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Remember, Remember...


They say an elephant never forgets, and I've not got much evidence to prove them wrong, but one thing I do know is that it is
very easy for a Christian to forget.

I was chatting with some mates over lunch last Sunday. They were girly types, let me say by that I mean they were actually girls, and being girls some of them kept 'memory boxes', aka shoeboxes (or in one case a suitcase!) full of bits and pieces from their life to date. Now I'm not against tucking away the odd ticket or wedding programme to remind me of good times, but these guys had taken that to the extreme: school shoes, drawings, journals, you name it they stored it in their attic. The difference between them was that one of them had been advised by an older friend to get rid of all that stuff on the basis that 'its all gonna burn', whereas the other one was all for keeping items that pointed her back to moments of knowing God's goodness.


As part of our training on the Associate Scheme we've been reading through the Old Testament, and it's been pretty striking how regularly Israel is called upon to 'remember', or worse still are rebuked for 'forgetting'. The big event that they often seem to forget is how God rescued them from Egypt, an event that completely defines them as a people. But more than that, it seems the idea of remembering God's work in their lives is engrained into the very being of their world. Joshua is told to build a pile of stones to remind Israel of God's provision in crossing a river, and even the very naming of places and people seems to promote a constant looking back to God's activity in their history.

Now, I see that as you move forward to the NT you see the apostles constantly drawing us back to the cross of Jesus as the defining moment in history where God rescued his people. But my question is whether we're still pretty poor at recalling God's 'everyday' grace in our lives, and not just last week's blessings but that moment 20 years ago too.

To caveat all that, I guess we wanna be protective against the danger of not spotlighting the ultimate moment where we were united to Christ as we repented and believed. And we wanna have a good biblical theology that understands how God blesses his people, i.e. we don't wanna promote a drift into the stuff of the prosperity gospel.

But if we truly believe 'it's all by grace', then wouldn't we be able to look back at our lives and be able to say exactly
that, rather than in a general vague sense? To look back on answered prayers, particular moments when it was hard to trust God but we kept on anyway, times where rejoicing in suffering was a very real experience, the surprising joy of unexpected provision, God's sovereign hand in bringing together certain events, incidents where we could really testify to the beauty of the church working to care for its members.


1 comment:

Ruthie-Roo said...

true stuff robin. it's the first thing my mama says when i'm upset or confused: remember ruth, remember what God is like, remember what he's done in the past.
It's always spot on relevant.