If every day were a day to remember

A holiday set aside for honoring men and women who died serving the U.S. military, Memorial Day got started in the late 1860’s. That’s legions of seasons for reminiscence!

Memorial Day 2011, at San Francisco National Cemetery

What if every day were marked as a day for remembrance? Could we do it?

Probably not. It would take scads of intentionality. Sticky notes everywhere?
A sticky note with the words - Today. Remember!

It takes work to call to mind even ordinary stuff. But reminders can help.

In the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, we read of people building cairns as a way of recollecting that God was at work in their lives.

Jacob built such a monument after distinctly experiencing God’s presence. He stacked stones and called the spot Bethel meaning “God is in this place.” Jacob would never forget that night.

In Joshua 4:1-7, God tells the Israelites to set up a “memento” made up of 12 stones. The purpose? So that when their children asked: “What is this memorial about?” they would then be able to tell the story of the great act that God had done to take care of his people. It was to be a reminder to those who were not there to witness this act, that God was great!

For times when you aren’t sure that God is real and present in your life. (Because those days happen, don’t they?) For questioning times.

a boy stacks stones on a beachThis month our Rotation key Bible verse is about remembering. Jesus advised his disciples and gave them a reminder:

Open quote markGo and make disciples of all nations … and surely I am with you always.   Matthew 28:19-20

 

What reminders can help us to not forget the every-day, great things that God does? That God is always with us?

What “memorials” — memory tools — can we set up to help us every day, to remember? Try creating something simple…

  • Stack stones: Go out for a walk to collect stones. Once back at home, in a family gathering (perhaps at the dinner table), artfully arrange your rocks while discussing God in your lives that day. Encourage contemplative manipulation of your rock pile.
  • Display a cross: Need a cross to display in your home? How about making one? Check out these ideas (goes to my Pinterst board).
  • Create an “altar” of sorts. Fill a space in your home with reminders of God at work. Allow touching and rearranging and additions and subtractions. (Photo on right is at the Nelson home around Easter time.)

 
Set up reminders to tell our children the stories of what God has done in our lives.


Photo credits:
A Memorial Day scene by Daniel Parks.
Sticky Note created from a Public Domain image.
Stacking stones by Roy Luck, on Flickr. Flickr images offered via Creative Commons.
Other photo thanks to the Nelson family.

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Take me to where love is needed

Jesus told us to go and make disciples.

But what does it mean to “make disciples?”

(I hope it doesn’t involve Bible-waving. And, is there something that doesn’t take much time, that I can fit in between collecting a paycheck, caring for my family, car-pooling, and crashing into bed exhausted every night?)

How are we suppose to follow what is called “The Great Commission?”

hands held in the shape of a heart over the face of a child

By noticing the need for love.

Teach your family to be on the look out for situations where love is needed.

  • Sometimes it is obvious: The latest disaster in the news. A homeless person. A child in tears.
  • Sometimes it can be more obvious with some training that makes us more sensitive to what a need looks like: A sibling, troubled by hurtful words. A child, alone at recess. A parent, struggling to get dinner ready.
    Present scenarios of these situations to your child. Ask them: “What can you do to provide some love in such a case?” Guide them to think of possible answers.
  • Sometimes it’s about stepping back and asking deeper questions about a situation. What stress is going on in her life that would cause her to react that way? Can I see the underlying events that have led him to become homeless? Will I observe her behavior as not mean, but as trying to gain control?… These situations require further discussion about how our findings may affect how we offer love. Discuss these situations over the family dinner table.

Jesus counts on us to be his hands and his feet — to do good things in the world — in all sorts of ways!


Photo credits:
Heart hands by Fanny, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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