The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Christ present in challenges

Be confident the Spirit renews our faith and witness

Remembering belongs to being human. Some memories are painful and we wonder if we will ever be able to forget them. Yet we fear losing our memories entirely. Certain memories of the past hold treasure for our hearts. That is why in the rubble of homes and churches devastated by storms or other disasters, survivors often look for a particular item passed on from generation to generation—a Bible, a photo, a certificate, a pendant. When found, these items are both a source of identity and a sign of hope.

On Memorial Day my wife, Ione, and I used to take our children to the cemetery to remember loved ones no longer present. Our now young adult children remember going as a family, sharing stories, shedding tears, joining hands, offering prayers, placing flowers and tidying the gravestones. As in earlier years, this remembering is in service of being rejoined to others in love and faith.

When he wrote to Timothy, the apostle Paul shared memories of the faith being passed on from generation to generation. He expressed his longing to be rejoined with Timothy, saying: "I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you" (2 Timothy 1:3-5). Remembering in this way serves reunion within the body of Christ.

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