Sunday, January 24, 2010

Questions, questions...

What's one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

Enrich the spiritual legacy I leave my family?

Surprisingly, I've given this some thought over the past few months. Yes, indeedy I have.

It's David Crowder's fault. He was the one who got me a-thinkin' with his fancy re-do of the hymn, Come Thou Font of Every Blessing. It's that line, "Here I raise my Ebenezer" that is sticking with me. According to Wikipedia: "An Ebenezer is a memorial established in remembrance of what God has done for a person or group of people."
One commentator noted," This single word (Ebenezer) ushers the worshiper into both the biblical episode (1 Samuel 7:12.) and the greater narrative of God's redemptive dealings with his people. It invites us to reflect upon our own stories and to remember God's faithful dealings with us.

And that's what I've been thinking about. Stories.
My stories.
My family's stories.
Stories of God's faithful dealings with me.
Stories of God's faithful dealings with us.

And how I think we need markers in our lives. Markers that help us remember. Help us remember who God is and what He's done for us. For me, specifically.

Last fall I helped organize then went along on a whirlwind "Leading Through Conflict" tour across Canada that we finished up in Calgary. It was our most poorly attended seminar (only 15 participants) and I started that day feeling like I limping in to the finish line after 7 days away from home.

We started every seminar asking the worship leader at each church to do a 15 minute set to "set the mood" for us. I was worried what it'd be like singing worship songs with just a dozen folks. Of course I worried. That's what I do. Like, in addition to transportation, accommodations, meals and materials, I had to concern myself with the worship pastor's ability to lead us. Sometimes I should be shaken til the rocks in my head drop out. ANYway, one of the first songs we sunged was Come Thou Font, and after we sang the Here I Raise My Ebenezer line, he stopped playing and asked if anyone knew what an Ebenezer was. There was a small discussion on it being a marker to say, THIS is where God met me. THIS is where my needs were met by God. And then he pondered the question of Where do we raise our Ebenezers today?

Where do we?

Where do I?

What marker is out there, that I can take my kids to and say, "See this? This is to remind us that God met me here. God saved me here. God met my needs here. God talked to me here. It was here that God fulfilled His promise to me. THIS marker is a reminder of God's faithfulness." Or it doesn't have to be me, it could be my family. Or my ancestors. Or my relatives. Or my grandparents.
Just something. Something that reminds us.
Something that reminds us of the story. Our story.


First, David Crowder got me thinking last summer.
Then random worship guy in Calgary added to my thoughts.
Then Johnny at Northview brought it up again.

And now, here I am, being asked a question about spiritual legacy, and it triggers thoughts on Ebenezers...

Maybe this year I need to raise one.
Maybe this year I will raise my Ebenezer.

"Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”

I don't know what it will look like, or what specific story it will be a reminder of, but I'll noodle on it a while longer, and see what comes of it.

How bout you? Have you raised an Ebenezer?

Other question:

What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?

Another question with an assumption; this one being that I will most want to read ONE book this year (besides the Bible, of course.)

My answer is that I will want to read every book we choose to discuss in our book club.
I will want to read every book that Clint recommends.
I will want to read every new book that is written by my favorite authors and is published this year.
I will want to read Heaven by Randy Alcorn because it's been on my night table for too long.
I want to read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.
I want to read another Donald Miller book.
Another Tim Keller book.
A Jane Austen book.
A Things to See in England book.
Another novel about an Old Testament person.

That reminds me.
You know how I've been reading about the women of Genesis lately?
And how I've been appreciating anew the dysfunction in those families of God? Well, it keeps haunting/encouraging me, this business of God working things out according to His purposes. I've loved how those OT folks keep screwing up and being totally human, AND GOD REDEEMS THEIR MESSES SO THAT HIS PURPOSES ARE ACCOMPLISHED. Honestly. This truth is slapping me upside the head this week.

I've especially loved the way God's purposes are not always what we expect. It's like, really? Really, God? That WAS your plan? You want your legacy/inheritance to be passed down to HIM? Do you know what he did? Like, say, Judah... the "Keeper of the Holy Scriptures" line was to go from Abraham to Issac to Jacob to Judah. And know which of Judah's offspring was next in line? It was the child he had with Tamar (his DAUGHTER IN LAW) who tricked him into having sex with her (WHILE SHE WAS POSING AS A PROSTITUTE.) Honestly - that is seriously messed up.

How messed up is your family?
No biggie.
God can totally redeem it for His purposes.

I went to church tonight.
By myself.
And because I haven't gone yet this month, I went to Northview's website to see if we (they) are in the midst of a sermon series. And also to guess if Jeff would be preaching or not. (They don't advertise their upcoming sermon preachers. If you call to ask who's preaching, they won't tell you. But I know that Jeff preaches about 3 Sundays a month ... so I do the math to see if he's likely going to be the one with the mike.)

The website wasn't all that helpful other than I noted that Jeff hasn't preached this month yet. So, that COULD mean that it was his turn soon. Or it could mean that he was away. Or on a sabbatical. And as far as I could tell, each Sunday in January had a miscellaneous message.

I arrived at church, found an empty seat at the back, opened my bulletin and noticed that Jeff WAS in fact preaching so that made me smile. And then when he did get started, he made me smile again. He introduced a new series - JOSEPH.


Remember how yesterday I said that the 4th book in the Orson Scott Card series didn't look like it was going to get published, and I'd have to "read the Bible to see how the story ends?" And I totally could do that, but the Bible doesn't have all the "extra" details in it that makes it come alive... and now, God has arranged for Jeff to passionately, intelligently, wisely, enthusiastically tell me what comes after Rachel and Leah's stories and PATIENTLY EXPLAIN WHAT I CAN LEARN FROM IT ALL.

So that's a good thing.
A really good thing.
And it makes me feel warm inside. Like this whole series is just for me.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Church
2. Fleece vests
3. The internet


1 comment:

ramblin'andie said...

One of my first projects at CCC was to come up with the bones for a new project they were putting together. How to Establish a Spiritual Legacy for future generations. They decided it would be to do a missions trip as a family. Multiple generations of one family. And I always thought that sounded like a really awesome thing. Grandparents, all their kids and all their grandkids together on one missions trip. I still want to do that one day. I don't have any grandparents, so maybe we'll be the grandparents.

Good question.