The dictionary defines a memorial simply as ‘a statue or structure established to remind people of a person or event’. The purpose of a memorial is to serve as a reminder in future of something significant that took place in the past.
Recently the Lord asked me to obey Him in something challenging that would require total trust and reliance on Him, during a time where I felt everything but brave. It felt as if God was asking me to walk on water, when I was already feeling really vulnerable and weak in my faith. After much praying, tears and bargaining with God, I decided to throw myself upon His all-sufficient grace and to obey. Needless to say, God came through for me, and never left my side. After this experience, I felt a deep desire to somehow mark this milestone in my walk with the Lord, so I never forget what He taught me. I was reminded of the fathers of the faith who built altars and memorials to honour God in the journeys they were on. In fact, there are several memorials referred to in Scripture.
In Joshua 3-4 we read how the Israelites were finally entering the promised land, and God’s instruction was for each tribe to take a stone from the middle of the Jordan river (that was dried up for them to pass through) and to erect a memorial for the generations to come. He wanted to ensure that His people never forget the goodness and the redemption He worked for them.
A New Testament example of a memorial is Jesus’ last supper with His disciples, when He instituted the sacrament of communion – something to ensure that His followers would remember what He’d done for them. He told His disciples, “This is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me…This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
It’s so vital that we pay attention to the things God does for us – whether great or small. And from time to time it’s necessary for us to stop and ‘build a memorial’ of remembrance, for us, and for our generations to come. But building a memorial doesn’t need to take the form of anything physical. The memorial I decided to build was a morning of worship, spent in the Lord’s presence. It was nothing fancy – just God and I, but my declarations of worship were that of thanksgiving and faith, and magnifying His Majesty. I believe this memorial was a significant one in the spiritual realms.
Another memorial our family has put in place is what we call, our family’s ‘Thanksgiving’. We celebrate it on the 31st of October – the day we moved into the beautiful house we still live in. We celebrate the fact that God made a way, where there was no way, for us to buy this home. We cook a special meal every year and spend time celebrating God’s faithfulness to our family. It’s a beautiful family tradition, and a memorial of His goodness.
With a new year already in full swing, and busy schedules constantly beckoning, perhaps we should be intentional about regularly making time to build memorials of gratitude to celebrate God’s goodness – for us, but also for the generations to come.
Prayer: Lord, Your faithfulness has been an anchor in my life through every season I’ve faced. You’ve always been good, and have worked all things for my good. I’m sorry for taking it for granted so many times. Help me to be intentional about frequently celebrating Your goodness, and to leave memorials of gratitude and worship for the generations after me to see and know who You are, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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