Remembrance is a biblical mandate. The people of Israel were instructed to remember the mighty and providential work of YHWH- even to construct monuments and memorials so as to not forget what He had done for them. The Psalms are littered with recitations of God’s action in human history. Jesus broke bread with his disciples at the Last Supper and said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
We are prone to forget. To forget the work of God in our midst. And our forgetfulness is not harmless in God’s sight. Forgetfulness breeds discontentment and dissatisfaction. And somewhere deep in our hearts there’s a battle raging between the humble choice to remember (and thus be content) and the selfish choice to forget (and thus be discontent). In Psalm 78, the author gives a laundry list of ways God intervened miraculously for Israel, but laments that the men of Ephraim “forgot what He had done, the wonders he had shown them (v.11). As this psalm attests, Israel would remember and worship, only to forget and be disobedient, then remember again, only to forget again. The remembering always led to right worship; the forgetting always led to rebellion and divine judgement. The relationship is clear.
We remember, that we might worship. Is not the essence of worship the act of remembering God’s work in the past and present and his promise to redeem all in the future? So I’ve been asking myself this question: what will I remember from 2011 that leads me to worship? Here goes:
- I’ll remember being with my dear friend Rob Warren as we sat next to our dying friend Aaron. We shared our love for him, our sorrow for what cancer took from him, and our confidence in the redemption that awaited him. Never before had I experienced such depth of emotion and the visceral presence of Jesus as I did in that room that day. Aaron died the next day and my faith is still being tested and transformed because of it. I have written a longer post about Aaron here.
- I’ll remember learning to be a father to Mason alongside an amazing woman- my wife Tiffany- who teaches me daily the joy of giving away your life. I’ll remember moments where God transformed my selfishness, frustration, and impatience into something that resembles- even if just slightly- the heart of the Father toward me. I’ll remember laughing with Tiffany at the crazy faces our son makes and the way he dances with his arms more than his legs, his insatiable desire to have books read to him, the way he says “momma” and “dadda” and the way he looks at me as I rock him to sleep at night.
- I’ll remember watching our church plant drop the word “plant” and become simply a church. I’ll remember being in the pool with Justin Hendricks and a whole bunch of people as they publicly proclaimed their new faith in Jesus. I’ll remember the group of people who hung out in our cabin at Colorado LT to discuss theology and life. I’ll remember having the realization that our church wasn’t just led by staff anymore but by an amazing group of college students who are naive enough to believe Jesus for big things.
- I’ll remember realizing that saying goodbye is an unavoidable reality of God’s Kingdom. I had big dreams for Brian Regueiro. He and I were going to do a church plant and do life and ministry together for years. Then God called him to the work of justice in DC. I’ll remember the journey God took me on to a place of joy and excitement in dying to my own dreams for sake of Christ’s Kingdom. I’ll remember realizing that the scope of God’s mission is so much larger than collegiate church planting, important as it may be and confident as I am that it’s my calling for now. I’ll remember learning that the mark of my discipleship is not just in how many people stay part of our ministry but also how many are sent out to labor for Christ elsewhere.
- I’ll remember learning all over again what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. I’ll remember being enamored again by the person of Jesus and the mission to which he calls us. I’ll remember doing teachings and hearing teachings from the Sermon on the Mount that reminded me of the inescapably exhaustive work of redemption Jesus wants to work in my life, the life of my friends, our church, and this world.