The first weekend in October was homecoming at my college alma mater. Even this far away from Iowa, I felt as if I was able to participate at least a little bit because of the wonders of technology. My friends and classmates were posting many pictures and comments from the events of the weekend. I saw pictures of friends, I saw pictures of the campus, I saw pictures from the football game. All those pictures and comments brought back memories of my time there.
Memories of past events and experiences are important. We go back and dig into them when we are seeking a place of refuge from the events of today. For most of us, our memories are more positive than negative. That doesn't mean that the negative didn't happen, it just means that the positive outweighs the negative. For some people though, the events of the past are so negative that memories are avoided. All of us have memories that are important: family, school, friends, events and occasions, maybe even memories from the church.
This month, on Sunday October 25th, we will be having our Fall Harvest Dinner and celebrating the 100th anniversary of our church building (the congregation itself was founded in 1861). As part of our celebration we will be reflecting on the past of Zion United Church of Christ. I'm sure there are memories that you have of the building, memories of events and services, memories that make you smile, chuckle, and perhaps even shed a tear.
Philippians 1:3 says, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” The apostle Paul was writing to the church in Philippi; reflecting on the time he spent with them, remembering how he had seen God's presence so mightily reflected in the life and ministry of the community there. I'm sure for many of us, we give thanks to God for the memories we have at Zion UCC.
Memories are wonderful. However, one of the things I noticed in the pictures my friends were posting from Homecoming last weekend was the number of times their own children were in the pictures. Yes, the parents were celebrating their memories, but they were also doing all they could to give their children memories and a connection to the school as well. In doing this, many of those children will likely one day be students at Wartburg College.
As we gather at the end of the month, let us remember our past, but also look to our future. Let's get excited about the things God is doing in our midst. Let's do all we can to ensure that Zion has a future for our children and our children's children. How do we do that? In the words of Paul at the close of his letter to the Philippians he writes: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
With the Greatest of Hope!