Tag Archives: remember

Memories of a Mountain


Recently I returned to a place I hadn’t been to in 34 years: Forest Home, a camp and conference center in the San Bernardino mountains. I’d worked there for two summers after high school, first as a groundskeeper, then as dishwasher at the high school camp.

Much has changed around FoHo in three-plus decades: the pool was moved, the teepees of “Indian Village” have been replaced with yurts in what is now simply, “The Village,” and ongoing maintenance has upgraded most of the buildings. But much is the same, too, or at least similar. The Clubhouse, Roundhouse, and dining halls are all in the same places. The lake is still full and wet and green. Black bears still wander the grounds at night, threatening any food or garbage left by unaccustomed city folk!

As I walked throughout the camp, memories flowed from rocks and buildings and the creek running down the valley. In the dining room, I recalled the day we heard that Christian musician Keith Green had died. Outside the kitchen where I washed dishes, I remembered my conversation about faith with a Catholic co-worker. Faces and names came to mind – people who spoke into my faith, challenged me, encouraged me, built me up. The leadership retreat I was part of that weekend opened the door to these memories of God at work not only in my own life, but thousands of other lives over the years.

Throughout the Bible, God tells his followers to remember:

Remember who he is (Exodus 3:15). Remember his commandments (Numbers 15:40). Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:18).

When the people of Israel finally crossed the Jordan River and into the promised land, they were to collect twelve stones from the riverbed and place them where they camped next to the river. When their children in future generations saw the stones and asked about them, they would remember how God had led them across the river on dry ground

Jesus told his disciples to remember him whenever they shared in what we now call Communion or the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist.

Sometimes life gets hard: Jobs are lost. A spouse gets sick. A child wanders. A parent dies. And in the midst of the hard, we don’t always see God at work, don’t hear his voice, don’t feel his presence. We forget.

We need help to remember. We need a friend’s eyes to give perspective. We need a counselor’s ears to hear what God is whispering. We need a spouse’s arms to feel God next to us. We need a pile of stones—or a trip back up the mountain—to help us remember what God has done in the past…and what he promises to continue doing.

Are you having a hard time remembering? Who can help you? Where can you go where God worked before? What stone can you touch?




Memorial StonesRemember. It’s one of my favorite words in Scripture. It shows up 187 times in the Old Testament alone; fifty more in the New Testament. Remembering is central to the Jewish feasts and fasts; it is central to the two ordinances Christians around the world celebrate today: the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.

Remembering is what national holidays are all about, too: Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July here in the US; Tag der deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) in Germany; Genocide Memorial Day in Rwanda; others in other nations.

When Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River, he had twelve men each carry a stone from the middle of the now-dry river bed. When the reached the western bank and set up camp, these stones were set in a pile…

6 …so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?you should tell them, ‘The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the Lord’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s waters were cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.” (Joshua 4:6-7)

In the US, today is Memorial Day; it is appropriate to remember the sacrifices made by those men and women who died serving and protecting our nation’s freedoms. But for Christians, it is also—and always—appropriate to remember what God has done for us; not only the sacrifice that Jesus offered to secure our freedom from sin, but the daily provision of God as well as the “big things” He has done just for you:

  • that time God clearly, perhaps immediately, answered a prayer
  • the job you have or promotion you received; your paycheck
  • the food on your table
  • the neighbor who looks out for your kids after school
  • the teacher who inspired you in 5th grade
  • the bed you sleep in, home you have (even if it’s too small, noisy, or in the “wrong” place; check out Jeremiah 29!)

When you’re out and about today, stoop down and pick up a stone and think about one of those times that God showed up for you. Hold onto the stone or put it in your pocket, and every time you feel it, thank God for His presence and work in your life.