This morning I talked about sermons and how we don’t remember most sermons –
Not just you, but me too. Sometimes I can’t remember what I talked about last week, so how do I expect you to remember?
What do we remember?
Over 200 times in Bible it says remember-
¨ And he remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
¨ And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full did you take up?”
¨ Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
¨ He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,
¨ A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
¨ I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
Remember the Alamo
Remember Pearl Harbor
Remember Kennedy’s assassination.
Remember the “Miracle on Ice”
Remember, “Challenger, go at throttle up.”
Remember Virginia Tech
Now we add to that Remember Newtown CT
Good things and bad things are burned into our memories.
We remember the death of a pet, the loss of a job, the accident, the phone call, the doctor’s words, the weddings, the births, and the funerals.
And at Christmas, we reminisce and remember. Sometimes the memories will bring smiles to our faces and sometimes tears.
And it is easy to get discouraged at Christmas.
We recognize there is always blessing and joy, but also pain. They go hand in hand, married together. Fortunately there is more joy than sorrow, but there’s no denying the sorrow.
I think for me it has to come down to “this is not all there is.”
I know I sometimes live like it is. But think about the whole universe – DO you think it just happens to be? Do you think we are just here by chance? That we have just evolved into what we are now?
I have never heard God speak, I can not prove to you that God even exists. But I know this world, this universe is not just a fluke. God had to have made it. And God is the reason my family is here. God gives me the ability to do what I now do. God did not make us come here. God asked us to come here.
God does not make us do things. When there is an accident, it is just that. When there is a death, God did not cause the death. Only good things come from God. But When there is an accident, God is there. When there is a death, God is there. When you are lonely, God is there. It’s just that sometimes we don’t see him.
The third day always comes.
Tragic and trying times are always defining.
Yet we will be able to smile again.
And there will come a time that there will be no more tears.
“While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.” – Samuel Johnson
“In the Psalms we’re told that God does not deal with us according to our sins and iniquities. My accident was not a punishment for my wrongdoing–whether or not I deserved it. Only God knows why I was paralyzed. – Joni Eareckson Tada
“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5
The days are going to start getting longer. In January, the sun will start getting brighter as it comes around.
The light we need is the Light of the World. It’s four days until Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of the One who came to save us. He came and He is coming again. Let us hunger for Him during this season. Blessings
A Liturgy of Remembering
(Using the Advent Wreath Candles)
One: The first candle we light is to remember those whom we have loved and
lost. We pause to remember their name, their face, their voice, the
memory that binds them to us in this season.
(Pause while the first candle is lit)
All: May God’s eternal love surround them.
One: The second candle we light is to redeem the pain of loss, the loss of
someone who was very important to us, part of our lives, part of our
own selves. We pause to gather up the pain of the past and offer it to God,
asking that from God’s hands we receive the gift of peace.
(Pause while the second candle is lit)
All: Refresh, restore, renew us O God, and lead us into your future.
One: The third candle we light is to remember ourselves this Christmas time.
We pause and remember these past weeks and months, the disbelief, the anger, the
down times, the poignancy of reminiscing, the hugs and handshakes of family and friends,
all those who stood with us. We give thanks for all the support we have known.
(Pause while the third candle is lit)
All: Let us remember that dawn defeats darkness, life overcomes death.
One: The fourth candle is lit to remember our faith and the gift of
hope which the Christmas story offers to us. We remember that God,
who shares our life, promises us a place and time of no more pain and suffering.
(Pause while the fourth candle is lit)
All: Let us remember the One Who shows the way,
Who brings the truth and Who bears the light.
(The Christ candle will remain unlit as a sign of waiting for a future
that is yet unknown to us, from which God beckons us)