Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26
Memory. Remembering. How many times a day do we comment about our memory or the things we need to remember? We hear comments like, “I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on!” or “I don’t have a good memory for peoples’ names.” I laugh at comments like these and at my own forgetfulness, but deep down, I am really bothered by the possibility of forgetting something important — a loved one’s birthday, an anniversary, an important meeting or appointment. Even worse is the prospect of being forgotten myself, of being invisible.
Psalm 136 assures and reminds us that we are remembered always and that God’s love endures forever. Our God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the God of goodness, and the God of great wonders. The text says God remembered us, even in our “low estate.” This term is used historically to refer to the children of Israel, a nation of oppressed slaves. For us interpreting this today, “low estate” might mean our moments of darkness and despair, times when we are separated emotionally or physically from those we love, or just when we are feeling emptied out. And aren’t these exactly the moments when we need to hear God’s voice telling us we are known, loved and remembered?
This Advent season, I will be making a lot of lists to remember everything that needs doing during the holidays. I’ll undoubtedly have some exasperating moments or periods of sadness, as most of us do, but I plan to keep the words of Psalm 136 handy. They give me a boost, reminding me that I am never forgotten by God and that God’s love keeps coming my way.
Hallelujah! What a gift to keep in mind!
By Bridgette Langford
Psalm 116 :1-2, 12-19
On this Thursday before Easter known at Maundy Thursday, we are to remember the importance of the commandments that Jesus instructed his disciples to obey at the Last Supper. They were to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice.
As we reflect on this event and what Christ told his disciples, we should remember that this command applies to us. Just as the Psalmist expresses the Lord hears our cries, we are to hear the cries of others and serve them. Just as Jesus did on earth, we are called to serve others in his name.
When we stop to think about this thought today remember Jesus and his sacrifice he made for us. Today think about those who serve you in life and those you serve. Thank the Lord for what he has done in your life.
By Barbara Higdon
Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45
In the Christian calendar, Lent is generally a time for solemn reflection on God’s sacrifice on the cross to save us from ourselves. Beginning with the marking of ashes from the burned palms similar to those that once waved at the Messiah as he entered Jerusalem, we are reminded that this was a road leading to a terrible death. How quickly the hosannas turned to hisses and boos.
Throughout Lent, many Christians give up favorite foods or activities to suffer symbolically with their Christ. Churches do not sing hymns of hallelujahs, waiting until Easter Sunday. It is a darker time in our calendar.
The passages from Psalm 105 seem to ring wrong as we journey to the cross. These words from David are filled with praises and reminders of what God has done for his people. Action verbs recount how a faithful God has time and again provided for His people. “He IS the Lord our God.” “He remembers his covenant forever…” “He confirmed…” “He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold…” “He spread…” “He brought…” “He fed…” “He gave…” These strong statements remind us of how strong and faithful our God is.
Yes, it is important to remember Christ’s suffering and supreme sacrifice. Yes, that sense of our unworthiness isn’t inappropriate. Yes, that sadness is legitimate.
However, I don’t think God wants us to wallow in sorrow. Even in the Last Supper, when Jesus asked the disciples to remember Him, I think he wanted them to remember the good things, too. Our pastor once reminded the deacons who were serving Communion that we needn’t look like we’re at a funeral. Every meal is a gift of God that we should recall with gratitude and happiness.
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” This is a command to be filled with joy and share the great news. Laugh and sing, for we are the children of a loving God who welcomes all and provides abundantly. He remembers His covenants; let us remember ours with Him.
By Lance Mayes
Take a moment to slowly read Psalm 77. Click on the link to open it online.
Have you ever had a really bad day? or a bad week? month? year? Ever feel like God is nowhere to be found? You are not alone. The Psalmist is in deep despair. Jesus can relate as well (Matthew 27:46).
The Psalmist is crying out and hears nothing. He is remembering what God has done in the past and yet now sees no signs of God’s love or compassion. The reflection continues, and he is remembering God’s mighty deeds especially the redemption from Egypt. Finally, he joyfully celebrates the greatness of God.
Pause a moment and remember. Remember God’s love and compassion to you in the past. Remember how God has redeemed you. Remember who God is and all that God has done for you.
Remember you are not alone. Not only is God with you, but others are on the same path. They may be crying out to God and can’t find God. They need a friend who will be “God with skin on.” They need you to be the presence of Christ to help them find their way. They need to hear your story of God’s love, compassion and redemption shown to you.
Who is wandering around that you can help today?
By Christie L. Goodman
A plethora of research in recent years has confirmed the value of family meal time – adult and child sharing a meal together around the table conversing with one another. The benefits range from improved nutrition and reduced risky behaviors to improved school grades and stronger self-esteem (Purdue University). And for some, promoting family dinner time has become their clarion call.
Moreover, there is an even deeper bonus: family meal time can improve family communication, strengthen family ties and create a greater sense of identity and belonging. The key, researchers say, is that this is when families share stories – stories of their day and their dreams, people they encounter, who said what to whom, and those priceless tales of the past.
Just this last few weeks at the dinner table, we’ve told our daughters stories of our own childhood friends, family travels, what high school was like, how we dealt with a bully, the first week of their birth, how stressed out my band directors were at contest time too, what driver’s ed was like, how we picked out our wedding rings, and a few childhood exploits of our own parents, etc., etc., etc.
And when their grandparents visited recently, there were even more stories, sometimes remembered differently, refined and retold.
Researchers explain that such family storytelling gives us a sense that we are part of a larger family narrative. “Kids who understand that they come from that kind of a family know that when they hit their own hardships, which are inevitable, that they can push through, they can do it.” (Clark, 2013)
Dr. Anne Fishel explains: “What makes family stories so powerful is that they transmit the idea to children that they are part of something bigger than themselves, and that their identity extends to previous generations. Having what some researchers call ‘the intergenerational self’ expands the universe of stories that can inspire dreams or hint at different paths and at possibilities that one’s own limited life experience doesn’t yet contain.” (2013)
It is that generational history that the writer of Psalm 77 is clinging to. In his distress, he “remembers” the Lord’s “miracles” and “mighty deeds.” He “remembers,” in great detail and imagery, the great parting of the sea. “Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock.”
But he wasn’t there himself. This was not his own personal experience. His is not an eye witness account. No, this was his generational experience. The story had been passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, like a great treasure. It is a part of him.
And he is renewed.
During this Lenten season, let us be renewed through remembering. We remember the parting sea, the angels harkening to the mere shepherd, the woman at the well, the feeding of the thousands, the empty tomb… Let us tell our family stories as we break bread together.