Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Rocks of Remembrance...

In the Old Testament God encourages those who follow Him to erect markers at significant moments in their lives so that they might have them to look back on and remember. Days will come, God knows, when we forget His goodness; and it's on those days, especially, that we'll do well to look back. Jacob does that. So does Mosess. So does Joshua. Rocks of remembrance.

I have my own rocks of remembrance, and I was privileged to visit them this past weekend. I'm down in California visiting my mom and in-laws. The days ahead look quite full and challenging and many levels. There are issues with aging parents as well. As our church grows, the challenges of keeping Christ first, and letting His reign increase in lives, both personally and corporately, is challenging. I left for Fresno feeling tired.

But on Saturday afternoon, with all this and more on my mind, I was able to make my way up to the camp where so much that was significant in shaping me happened. The camp is only a few minutes from the gate of Yosemite, located in the marvelous altitude where the aroma of Manzaneta is thick. That smell is my childhood, my formative years spiritually. As I drove up to the camp, countless memories filled my mind, both noble and ignoble, but two significant ones stand out...

1. The chapel where I had a deep encounter with God was still there. I remember that day, just over two years after my dad died, when I prayed in the snow and committed to making knowing God the main pursuit of my life. To this day, my commitment made there has become something of a reference point. When confused - turn towards knowing God. He'll change you, make you all that your supposed to be. I remembered the moment, and confessed how often and easily I lose the reference point.

2. I walked over towards office from the chapel wondering if it would still be there, and it was. When I was about 8 I drove up to this camp for the first time, dropping off my sister. My dad got out of the car and walked over to a water fountain, made of stones, and said, "This is the best water on earth. You can never get enough." He drank. I drank. And he was right. But something about the smell of Manzaneta, blended with the pure mountain water, and the crisp, pine air created a sense of deep contentment. Every year I went to camp, the first thing I did was drink from the water fountain. And over the years, I've thought often of that stone fountain, making it my rocks of remembrance. That living water pours out from these rocks is only fitting.

I hiked through the mountains on a trail I'd taken many times as a child and prayed, remembering that God has been faithful and forgiving. My Rock. My Living Water. And I was reminded to seek God and drink from His Life.

Do you have a rock of remembrance?


At 13/11/05 19:15, Anonymous Lauren said...

Thank you, Richard, for reminding us to remember. I read "Hind's Feet on High Places" years ago, and one of the most profound images in that book was the stones of remembrance that Much-Afraid collected on her journey. I do have rocks of remembrance, places I go back to in my mind (not frequently enough) to remember God's faithfulness. Whenever I do, I am amazed again, and I receive new strength for the journey, hope enough to keep going, to keep trusting, to keep pressing into Christ.
We are a forgetful people. And it seems that God has always called His people to remember (remember your slavery in Egypt, remember how I brought you out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, remember...), because He knew we would forget. We do well to remind ourselves of where we've a church throughout history, and in our own lives. I will do well to revisit (if only in my mind and heart) the places where God has met me. He who has been faithful will continue to be faithful, and will finish what He began in us...though it will take until the day of Christ Jesus.
Thanks again for your encouragement, Richard.

At 14/11/05 22:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that. Glad you got to make it up to the hight country. My place of rememberance is on the beach at Carkeek.

At 16/11/05 18:35, Blogger Dan said...

Anaheim, CA - PowerSurge, a youth event for high school students. I had been walking with the Lord for years, but it was that week in December that I decided to give it all to Him. Live it without reservation and give Him my future. He has been faithful to order my steps and teach me all along the way. What an AWESOME God we serve!


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