“but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” – Luke 2:19.
American author Howard Thurman defines memory as, “one of God’s great gifts to the human spirit without which neither life nor experience could have any meaning.” In a sense, memory allows us to relive moments that were special in times past. Reminiscing about our past takes us to a moment in time that often brings a smile to our face.
We all have memories; good and bad ones, regrettable and unforgettable ones that leave footprints on our hearts. There are those precious childhood memories that revisit our mind as we age. There are memories of that sports championship, high school and college, the first job, the wedding, the first child. Then there are the spiritual memories: coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; baptism; the first small group, the first time serving in the church. Each event helps to shape us into the person we’ve become and to experience God’s faithfulness.
What if you had no memory? Every second, minute and hour of every day would have to begin for the first time. Learning would be impossible, and education would be meaningless. Fortunately that is not the case. God has given us the power to store vast amounts of information and experiences throughout their lives. All we must do is rewind the tape and remember the experience whatever it is.
The 25th anniversary of Northstar Church is a time of remembrance. In Luke 2 41-52, we read about Jesus at the age of twelve, who was left behind in Jerusalem, and was found talking with the Jewish leaders, who were amazed at His understanding. And so the bible says in verses 48 thru 50; “His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant.” Then we read in verses 51 and 52: ”Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people”. The Bible doesn’t tell us but it seems reasonable that Mary treasured that memory all her life.
God has done some amazing things in and through our church community in the past 25 years. Remembering our stories together is the life blood of any church community. Because when we aren’t certain what to do next, we turn to our memories to make meaning of our experience. Where have we come from? How did we get here? What then should we do next? Our memories serve as a touchstone, a benchmark for evaluating where we’ve been and where we are going.
Isaiah 49 (TLB) says “Never! Can a mother forget her little child and not have love for her own son? Yet even if that should be, I will not forget you. See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm, and ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
- Reflecting on your entire experience at our church, remember a time when you felt the most engaged, alive, and motivated. Who was involved? What did you do? How did it feel? What happened as a result?
- What are the most important contributions the church has made to your life? Tell me when this happened. Who made a difference? How did it affect you?