Tuesday, February 23, 2016
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Thank God! Pray to him by name!
Tell everyone you meet what he has done!
Sing him songs, belt out hymns,
translate his wonders into music!
Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,
you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;
be alert for signs of his presence.
Remember the world of wonders he has made,
his miracles, and the verdicts he’s rendered—
O seed of Abraham, his servant,
O child of Jacob, his chosen.
[Psalm 105:1-6 The Message]
The gift of memory is perhaps God’s greatest present to us. We have a treasure stored in our mind that we can access at any time to recall facts, figures, events, people, places, joys, sorrows, and anything else that has happened in our lives. Because of memory, we can keep alive in our hearts those loved ones who have died, recalling the legacy they left us and cherishing the times we shared together.
Memory, however, is selective.
As the song “The Way We Were,” tells us:
Memories, are so beautiful, and yet,
what’s too painful to remember,
we simply choose to forget.
I take slight issue with that verse in the song. I think it is human nature to dwell on the negative. For far too long we remember a person who offended us, or something that went wrong, or the hurts we’ve suffered along our life’s journey. If we’re not careful, we can let them overshadow the good that has happened in our lives, pulling us into a depression from which we may never be able to escape.
Psalm 105 is classified as a historical psalm. It retells the story of how God formed Israel from wandering nomads into a nation that became the chosen people of God, tracing their spiritual history from Abraham to Moses.
The psalmist is selective in that the focus is solely on God’s promises and how they were fulfilled. Psalm 105 never mentions the faithlessness of the people of Israel their failure to keep up their end of the covenant relationship they had with God. (It saves all those shortcomings for the following Psalm 106.)
When I began this Lenten discipline I wanted to concentrate on the Old Testament texts as often as possible, with perhaps an occasional foray into the Psalms. But the challenge has come in reading over and over again how Israel sinned against God, getting themselves into crises, crying out to God to deliver them from their distress. I confess that I needed a break from that pattern of behavior. I experience that enough in the daily work of my office. Likewise, I don’t want to continue to hammer you each day with the same.
That is why Psalm 105 is such a pleasant distraction today. There is such a thing as healthy selectivity when it comes to memory. There are things that have happened in our lives that have formed and shaped us into the persons we are today.
Remember your baptism, when you were made a special child of God in the waters of the font.
Remember those people in your life who have nurtured you in the faith. Perhaps your parents or another relative, a Sunday school teacher, a pastor, a friend.
Remember those nourishing moments that have had a lasting impact on your journey of faith – worship, communion, studying God’s word, moments in which you have seen signs of God’s presence.
Then share those events with others. Tell everyone you meet what God has done. Tell your story so that others may see how God in Christ is at work in you.
And that is what Lent is all about. God’s love is made know to others through us. As we have received the boundlessness of God’s mercy, we are called to be a reflection of that love. And in so doing, we are the messengers of God’s deeds, and we tell of those deeds with shouts of joy!