Joshua 4:21-22

And he said to the people of Israel,
'When your children ask their fathers in times to come,
What do these stones mean?'
Then you shall let your children know,
Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.
Joshua 4:21-22
Our family has a tradition of decorating graves at the cemetery where my dad and his side of the family are buried. In years past, Mom took Dad’s two elderly aunts and helped them complete the task. Mom would drive from one family plot to another while the aunts told family stories stretching back to the Civil War.

Now, the aunts are gone. I do the driving while Mom tries to pass along the stories. Her memories are fragmenting, and I wish I’d paid more attention when she and the aunts were in charge. My siblings and I are trying to piece the remaining scraps of Mom’s stories into a patchwork of remembrance. Our resolve to pass along that patchwork to our children and grandchildren becomes more pressing every year. Because our family history matters. Because old stories matter. Because history and stories are the substance that binds families together.

God created us for remembering and instructs us to pass on our memories to new generations. In Joshua, he commanded the Israelites stack stones of remembrance beside the Jordan River. The commemorative stones weren’t erected as an altar, but as a conversation starter by which stories of God’s faithfulness could be passed on to future generations.

In the book of John, the author states that he wrote the story of Jesus ‘so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’ (John 20:31) In 2 Peter, the apostle explains why he continually repeats what Jesus did and said while he was on the earth. Peter says he does it ‘…so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.’

God instructs us to share our stories with one another, especially our children and their children. He calls us to share the stories of his work among us and our ancestors. The stories he orchestrated to bind us together as individual families and families of faith. The stories of his hand at work during a global pandemic and a national movement for racial justice.

He invites us to take advantage of the long summer evenings at home. To unplug our screens and ditch our phones and gather our starry-eyed youngsters and eye-rolling teens around the table or a campfire and tell of our faith through stories. We can preserve God’s legacy for our children and our children’s children so one day they will say to their children, ‘I’m going to tell you about what God did during the pandemic of 2020. It’s a story you don’t want to miss.’
Jolene Philo | Author

No Comments