Marking Our Days

We recently attended the wedding of my 76 year-old neighbor and her 79 year-old groom.  During the reception, a family member rose to make a poignant speech, which I’ll never forget:

‘We’re here to celebrate a special day in our lives,” he said. “This is how we mark important times:  we gather together on a special day, we wear special clothes, we say special words, we share special foods and even music.  The family has come together.  This is what we do as humans to help us remember these important events.”   I don’t know if he was a preacher or an anthropologist, but his observations have made an impression on me.

Two weeks to the day, we attended the funeral of a dear friend, a dynamic Christian brother who suddenly left this earth at age 57.   His death was a shock to his friends and family.  As I was dressing for the funeral, the words spoken at the wedding reception came back to me.

I realized that on two different Saturdays, we rearranged the schedule for the grocery shopping and laundry and cleaning so that we could join with our brothers and sisters.  We put on special clothes, tied our ties, shined our shoes.  We gathered for different reasons, but in both instances we were celebrating life.  We thanked God for His goodness and provision.  These days will become  markers for all who participated.

Joshua instructed God’s people to collect a pile of stones as a tangible reminder to themselves and their children of God’s provision and protection.  “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. … These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”  Joshua 4:6-7 (NIV)

Crossing the Jordan was the beginning of a new era for the children of Israel.  It was the fulfillment of God’s promise of deliverance and His covenant of love with His people.  Such an event merited a celebration and a marker. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.  Like a wedding or a funeral, it was a  ‘life will be different from this point on’  moment.  These are the times when God often speaks to hearts, when people are more open to hearing His voice, when they recognize His hand at work.  As Christians, our participation in the celebration can help point others to Him. We can help to answer the question, ‘What do these stones mean?’

Whether a wedding, a funeral, a new baby, an engagement or a job promotion, it’s a chance to stop, to come together, to gather the family, (to eat!) to mark, and to point to God’s goodness and provision.  Let’s not let it pass without notice.  Let’s celebrate!

As the song says, ‘We will remember the works of Your hands, and we will stop and give You praise, for great is Thy faithfulness.’  (We Will Remember, Tommy Walker, WeMobile Music ©2005)

Copyright 2010 Mary E. Egidio – permission is granted to share this work, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.  (yes, you can share it, but tell who wrote it, where you found it, and please don’t try to sell it)

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