gathering stones

My nerdy friend Brian was telling me recently about his nerdy app on his nerdy phone and how he uses it as a nerdy journal of sorts. He has a reminder set to record the highlights of his days, along with any pictures he takes, etc. He has another reminder set once a year to review his journal and make note of any 'thought patterns'. For example, he noticed a few years ago that a lot of his highlights involved marketing and technology. He was working in sales at the time and started looking for jobs blending his interests and is currently killing it at one of the foremost inbound marketing firms in the country. Turns out, it pays to keep record, to look back and remember. Now Brian is some sort of entrepreneurial baby genius, and his 'journal' was more of a business strategy, but of course I am me and started thinking in a very me-ish way about journey, significance and growth.

I started thinking about Jesus and the message of the Bible and how I recently posted about His neverending call to simply remember. I've been jetsetting around the country for the past few weeks, so I had a lot of time to reflect on how much richer and more peaceful my journey would be if I did things Brian's way. If I set a cosmic reminder to make record, a yearly holiday to remember. 

I think of those stories in the Bible where God would do something miraculous for one of His children and, in grateful response, they would stop and gather stones and build an altar. They’d make offerings and name the altar something beautiful. A physical testament, a landmark of His goodness. It would remind them of and introduce others to what God had done. 

I think about rituals and how they may be one of our most important human creations. All over the world, you see humans creating spiritual ceremonies as “resting points.” Birthdays, holidays, baptism, communion, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day. When something blooms in us that no one else can see, or when something needs to be remembered through more than a thought, we carve these ceremonies into our daily existence, like initials on a tree. It’s a moment that says “everyone stop what you’re doing and look at this. It’s important.”


And I think about our forgetfulness and how these altars, these memorials, are tiny obediences. A small attempt to dam up the torrents of forgetfulness and distraction that wrack our human experience. To not only remember but leave a landmark for future rememberances.

It makes me feel frantic and weepy and thankful all at once. That we get to live in time and space, making our days so very fleeting and yet so significant. That we're able to and called to remember, record, give thanks. That across the wide plethora of humankind, there are ever-creative ways of gathering stones and building altars. To remind us of God's goodness to us, His faithfulness, His rescue. 


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