September 11, 2001. Chances are you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the news. We spent the next several hours – perhaps days – listening to the radio and watching the news reels again and again. It’s been nine years, and with debate raging over a Ground Zero mosque and Terry Jones’s Burn a Koran Day the issues are still very much alive. Discussion continues over exactly what to do at the site of where the Twin Towers once stood, because everyone cannot agree on exactly how to honor those that died. One thing is as clear as ever: we will always remember that day.
In Joshua Chapter 4 the Hebrews finally get to cross the Jordan River and enter the promised land. The LORD has Jeremiah command a leader from each tribe to take one stone, and place it in the midst of the river where the priests stood bearing the Ark of the Covenant. When future generations ask what those stones mean, they are to be told the story of when God held the river and His people crossed on dry land. It will be a memorial for ever.
We need to be reminded. It’s good to remember. The Hebrews of the Old Testament, very much like us today, are prone to forget. The same ones that crossed the Red Sea and believed in and feared God – and Moses – would quickly become discouraged and complain again. God would judge them, then save them, and they would promise to be faithful forever. Repeat. Repeat again. It’s good to remember, but we need to be reminded. Peter got out of the boat to walk to Jesus, but seeing the wind and the waves caused him to begin sinking. Sometimes our waves are high and the wind is strong. Remember what God has already done. It will help when all hope seems lost. You know the old saying “When all else fails, pray?” I hate that saying. If we prayed to start with, maybe everything wouldn’t fail.
The communion table has the words engraved into the wood “This do in remembrance of me.” The cross is an ever present symbol of the redeeming work of God. We forget quickly; it’s good to remember. We need to be reminded. It’s easy to remember on Sunday, sitting in a sanctuary surrounded by believers. It’s a little harder on Monday morning. When the wind and waves of real life – angry boss, bill collectors calling, sick child in the ER, whatever your waves are – rise up around us, it may be hard to remember what God has done. He has ordained the events of history. We will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. Pray when things are good. Talk to God and read the Word when things are good, and he will not seem like such a stranger when we call on Him in the hour of need. We need very much to remember.
In the United States, we have days on the calendar spread throughout the year so that we do not forget. We have Memorial Day in the spring. Independence Day mid-summer, and Veterans Day in the fall. September 11th is now a day we remember. Likewise Christians around the world have Easter and Christmas. We take the Lord’s Supper, some monthly, some weekly, to remember his body was broken and his blood spilled. We need to take perhaps just a few moments daily and reflect on what he has already done. It’s good to remember. We need to be reminded.
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