Pastor reflects on past year, talks about memory

BY KYLE KINER

METHODIST CHURCH PASTOR

We have been given a gift from God called memory.  How many times do you say “I remember when…”?  How many times have you been challenged to remember a fact or a name?  The act of remembering something is very important in our lives.  When we read scripture from the Bible, we remember the stories of God.  Those stories of God help us to remember what God has done for us.  We also remember the words, lessons, and stories that Jesus told long ago.

Every time I conduct a funeral I am reminded of how precious our memories are.  Frequently, we grieve the pain of a loved one who endured the disease of Alzheimer’s, which takes memory away through dementia.  The loved ones remaining are left with complicated memories of their loved one.  What I like to do during a funeral service is to help lift up and celebrate the gift of memory.  I invite the family and friends of the one they are grieving to remember a good and happy moment they had with their loved one.  They can then take that good memory and tuck it away in their heart or mind.  The process is like a polaroid camera picture.  You could push the button to take the picture and out pops a square plastic piece of paper that would develop into a picture.  These polaroid pictures would then be posted on our refrigerator or mirror.  We cherish those moments like this.

Moments to cherish and celebrate happen all the time.  Last weekend Cherokee hosted the State Track meet.  Thousands of people came to town to watch our student athletes perform at a high level.  Also this week we celebrate Cherokee High School graduates.  These students will walk across the stage, receive their diplomas, and move on to the next stage of their life.  I remember last year at this time we were completely closed down from the pandemic.  Do you remember graduation last year with all the toilet paper the graduates handed Principal Hickman as they came forward?  What a difference a year makes!  Those are memories to hold on to and celebrate and learn from in our lives and in our history.

What memories do you most cherish?  Is there a person you strive to remember?  Is there a time in your life that you remember and want to return to?  Maybe this time right now is what you most want to remember.  These days are what God is blessing us with right now.  What memories will you make?  Let’s celebrate that God blesses us with the gift of memory.  I hope that I will not take that gift for granted.  As King David says in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has made everything fitting in its time, but has also placed eternity in their hearts…”  Let’s hold on to what God has placed in our hearts and minds.

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