So we decided to build the altar, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a memorial. (Joshua 22:26-27)
Relate: I have a clock. I know it was purchased at Things Remembered because I bought the exact same clock for a friend on their wedding. When I was living in Binghamton that clock exactly fit the color of my bookshelves. That was because I bought the first bookshelf to exactly match that clock. I also have a photo whose frame matches the clock and those bookshelves. When I packed my bag and moved to Turkey, that clock and photo came with me. I had a very limited amount of space and weight and nearly everything I owned had to go but those two items were some of the only “luxury” items to be included. I could not part with them. They are both memorials.
That clock was gifted to me when I was leaving Oswego to help start a new church in Binghamton. Every time I look at it I remember the students and the kids I poured my life into. I remember their parents and families that almost grew to be a larger part of my own. I remember the tears and frustrations as well as the joys and the victories that are part of a life in ministry. That clock says, “Remember our time” and I do. I can never forget.
The picture has multiple layers of meaning for me. It is a photograph of a painting my dad made of my grandma’s house. Both my dad and my grandma are now in heaven. There are years upon years of memories built into my memories of that house. The greatest of those are actually from a time beyond either of them living in that house. My dad passed away in ’97 and my grandma in ’01. During the summer of 2000, when she was living in a nursing home, I went up to that house and lived there, with no gas or electricity and very limited water use, to go on a four week fast. That time shaped me and molded me and was crucial in my transition out of being a college student and entering into the real world. I cannot look at that picture and not remember those four weeks.
React: The eastern tribes built up an altar for just such a reason. I am now very far from Oswego and Sterling NY but there is something that points me back not just to those locations but to all they represent. The Jordan River created a natural boundary between these tribes and the larger portion of Israel on the West. So they created a memorial that would point them back to the real altar and everything it represents. Every time they saw that memorial, and their children saw it, and the many generations to follow looked on that memorial, they would be reminded to look back to the true altar and everything it represents.
What are some of the milestones in your past? What are some moments of transition or transformation that have shaped you for the better into who you are today? How has time and change and geography separated to from those events? What are you doing about it? What memorials do you have that can point you back and stir up gratitude to God for all He has done for you?
First and foremost I am so grateful for the ways You have molded and shaped me more closely into what You desire me to be. I am grateful for the people and places that have had such a beautiful impact on my life. I am grateful for the now I am living in and that I fully ecre and live in the moment help me to remember with gratitude all the many many ways You have blessed me in the past.