Altars of Remembrance
27 January 2017
Reading: Exodus 17-20; Acts 3
24 “The altars you make for me must be simple altars of earth. Offer on such altars your sacrifices to me – your burnt offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Build altars in the places where I remind you who I am, and I will come and bless you there. 25 If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.” (Exodus 20:24-25 NLT)
From the time of Abraham, God’s people had built altars in the places where they had memorable encounters with God. Now God was formalizing the practice as he moved from dealing with a man and his family to forming a nation. God said that they were to build altars—simple altars—of sacrifice in the places where they encountered God and where God reminded them of who he is. These altars would be places of remembrance, of offering, and of blessing.
One of the ways Jean and I keep our faith steady and strong is by remembering the places and the experiences in which God has reminded us of who he is, and who he is to us. We do this through our periodic mini-retreats, at family holidays and events, and during times when we have the kids and grandkids together. We build altars of remembrance when we are facing challenges and when we have important decisions to make. We’re learning to celebrate each blessing of God’s provision and direction with an altar of remembrance.
In the present life-season of personal change and transition that Jean and I are experiencing, and because of the intensifying pace of change in our world, it’s more important than ever for us to remember who God is and what He has done in our lives.
Today’s reading is a challenge and encouragement to be more intentional to identify and mark the places where God has reminded us of who he is in our lives, and to remember and to visit those places more often.
Father, Thanks for helping me see something fresh in an old Bible story today. I’m looking forward to creating faith-strengthening “altars of remembrance” and visiting them often, by myself, and with Jean and the kids and grand kids. Please show us a creative way to add the element of giving a remembrance offering. Amen.