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Down Memory Lane

Nov 2, 2011, 1:38 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

“Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.” (Psalm 72:18-19)

Generations succeed each other, times change and in the process many things that were not recorded just slip into oblivion; never to be retrieved - completely lost forever. In our day, as we heap information upon information, one way to bring back the past or recall events that have marked our existence profoundly is to take a walk down memory lane. What we find down that path refreshes and revives the past, giving us a taste of how it happened and when it happened.

In the Bible, God demands that His people, who are called by His name, walk down this lane several times over and take their children with them. “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9) The great events of the past, in particular the crossing of the Red Sea as the Egyptian army gave chase, should be remembered. Subsequent generations should never forget what great things God had done for the Children of Israel. The whole essence will be lost if no one recounts such feats and miracles.

With succeeding generations vital information gets ‘twisted’ and with time is lost forever. Because care is not taken to ensure continuity, the chain is broken, and history takes on the form of traditional tales with rather devious backgrounds and origins. Teach it to your children that they also may teach it to their children’s children.

Easter is a replica of the Passover celebrated at the point when the Children of Israel were departing Egypt. Each family that could afford it was asked to slaughter a lamb. Not just any lamb but a spotless lamb. It presaged a turning point when God would put His salvation plan for humanity into action. Several centuries after this event, God sent His Son, Jesus, a spotless lamb; the Lamb of God that was chosen to take away the sins of the world and deliver the human race, fettered by sin. He paid the price of sin that we might be set free. God, the Father, specifically demanded that this be remembered.

When John the Baptist met with Jesus he described Him thus: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Such a declaration took him down memory lane. Several years after, our Lord Jesus, as He presided over the Passover meal with His disciples asked them to recall that day. “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ ” (Luke 22:19) “In the same way, after supper, He took the cup saying, ’This is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ ” (1 Corinthians 11:25)

When we eat the bread and drink the wine, we recall Christ’s suffering for humanity on the cross of Calvary, for the atonement of our sins. God had instructed that the blood of the lamb that would be slain by the Israelites before they left Egypt be sprinkled over the lentils of their houses. All those who did, had their firstborns spared. That blood represented the blood our Lord Jesus would spill at Calvary to set free all who call upon His holy name.

Two thousand years since His ascension into heaven we still remember the ultimate sacrifice made by our Lord Jesus each time we partake of the Holy Communion. ”For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)

It is not unusual to want to brush aside the past, sometimes to do away with it completely, as we look to a new future and as things unfold. But the future without the past is devoid of meaning. The future builds on the past just as the past strengthens the future. The two are indissolubly linked. God wants us to remember the past for a reason – that is, to give Him all the glory for having seen us through that path.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25)                   

What do you remember God for? What has He done in our lives that we bring to the fore often, for His glory? We may not have to look very hard, our lives are a living testimony of His blessings untold; the Lord has been gracious to us not once but several times over.

When you take your children down memory lane and recount your past exploits, let it be the ones for which God’s name will be glorified - moments that remind you that God is faithful. “I was young and now I’m old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (Psalm 35:25).