Stones of Remembrance: In the Beginning

Stones of Remembrance play a significant role in the history and story-telling of God’s people. An example: 

The Israelites finally entered the promised land after 40 years in the wilderness, crossing the Jordan River in much the same manner as when Moses had parted the Red Sea. Once again on dry land, Moses successor, Joshua, instructed them to set up stones of remembrance as a memorial (Joshua 4:4–7). 

The recurring theme: “when your children ask what do these stones mean,” they’d have an opportunity to re-tell a part of their story as Gods people. 

In the early 21st century, it’s equally important that we pause and remind ourselves of our own stones of remembrance. 

I’ve often heard it said that what we experience during our first five years will shape who we are for life. I’ve pondered, from time to time, if that might also be true for our spiritual lives. If that’s the case, then my first year as a Christian (age 16) yields the following Stones of Remembrance:

  1. Jesus is actually real.

    I was raised in a Christian family, went to church every Sunday, but the night of my surrender to Jesus came as a shock and surprise. Mainly because I didn’t go to the evangelistic meeting with an open mind; I only went to placate my earnest Christian friends. God had other things in mind, despite my contempt for the band and ignoring the spoken message. “Surrender” is perhaps the best only word that adequately describes my response to God’s wake-up call.

  2. The Holy Spirit is alive. And well. And is known to show up in decidedly unexpected ways.

    I was on staff at our denominational camp that summer. During a prayer time my teenaged cabin mates, the Holy Spirit “showed up” in an experience of God’s love that left everyone blown away. Doubly miraculous was that our camp/denomination was legendary for its rabid ANTI-charismatic bent.

    (2b. God has a sense of humor about camps like that.)

  3. Satan is not just a marketing tool for 1980s hair metal bands. But Jesus is more powerful.

    An unexpected spiritual attack – completely with visions of satanic imagery – came out of nowhere late one night, and scared the liver out of me. But, turns out that its true what they say: in the name of Jesus, we have authority over evil spirits. Good news for those of us under attack.

  4. Controlling, manipulative, and abusive leaders are a royal pain in the patookus.

    I learned this the hard way at the same camp; while not without my own issues, the harsh words of constant judgement and condemnation were total overkill. Fundamentalism on steroids. Almost cult-like, you might say. On the plus side, this was the first of many times when I learned to sift through religious crap trappings to find the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45–46).

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And as I look back over the years, I find (perhaps not surprisingly) that all of the above are as true today as they were then. If anything, I’m more aware of the reality – and implications – of each of these early Stones.

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