Posts Tagged ‘remembrance’

Second_Sunday_of_AdventThe word does not appear in scripture as part of the Advent story. In fact, the four references in the New Testament have to to with the day before Sabbath or the day before Passover. It is a time for getting ready. It is one of the reasons Jesus was taken down more quickly from the cross in response to a request from the Jewish leaders. In most Advent traditions, the second week is given the word, preparation. paraskeuē
means to make ready or equip.

In the old testament, one of three appearances of this word is this:
Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them. . . . ” [Joshua 7:13, NIV]

In this case, it is part of the story of Achan who, when the army of Israel under Joshua destroyed the city of Jericho, everything was to be killed except for Rahab and her family and all of the gold, silver, and other precious treasures were put in the treasury of the Lord’s temple; the rest was burned. But Achan coveted and secreted a few beautiful things and silver. And when they went to battle a second time, 36 men died and the army fled from the men of Ai. When Joshua lamented to God, he heard from God clearly of betrayal in the camp and for this cleansing, everyone needed to prepare, for the perpetrator would be revealed the following day.

Preparation then is a combination of cleansing and equipping. Since the Israelites were not allowed to work (even the women), all work had to be completed on the 6th day. The 7th day was a day of rest and this was a day for the Lord, time in study, prayer, and worship. This was God’s day. In some ways, even in Achan’s story, it was God’s day, who identified the sin and cast it out from among them. So, God can cast out our own sins, if we confess and lay them out honestly before God.

Jesus came to us as a baby, in innocence of experience but still full of the Holy Spirit. And perhaps it is one of the mysteries of being “born again,” to return to a purer time when the fullness of the Spirit has reign and learned responses to the world do not win out of habit.

Christmas time is also a time of much preparation. Unfortunately, we have lost most of the purpose of this preparation. The apex or crowning moment would be the symbolic birth of Christ celebrated and remembered. It is could be a holy day of remembrance. Instead, it has become a day of consumerism gone wild. I am no different from you. I do the same. I don’t really know how to stop it without the buy-in of family.

Too much effort in the preparation and not enough effort in the day at the end, the day of rest and remembrance.

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stone altarThe erecting of pillars and altars and memorials was prevalent throughout the journeys of the ancients. Their milestones marked an event in their journeys that was valued, a testimony to the moment. And today, although we have statues and tributes of buildings, walls, and waterfalls to the wars and losses to be revered, there are no remembrances anymore for a life-changing experience with God.

Genesis 35:14-15
Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel [House of God].

In fact, if anything, most of us forget that moment when we cried out to God, “See me, hear me, oh Lord, help me!” And the cry was heard and our circumstances changed.

I am probably being harsh here. I suppose, if I had to recount some key moments when I was touched by God, I could recount them. But I built no memorial, nothing permanent.

Except the words.

I understood today, that these are where I have built my milestones. These are a memorial to my growth as a believer, a follower of Christ. These are the memories collected in digital ink, to help me remember.

It may be time to take this all a little more seriously. For this season, for this time in my life, this milestone, feels important. Perhaps it’s all the talk of apocalypse (even though we joked through the end of the Mayan calendar), there is a sense within me that challenges will come. This is a time of gathering: my thoughts, my devotion, my surrender, my commitment, my disciplines.

Today, God spoke: Remember who I am and where I dwell. Remember who fights the battles. Remember your promise.

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