Three Keys to Experiencing God (1) -- Memory
There are many passages in the Bible that speak of how God did great things for His people, and Psalm 126 comes to my mind these days.
When the Lord brought us back to Jerusalem,
It was like a dream!
How we laughed, how we sang for joy!
Then the other nations said about us,
“The Lord did great things for them.”
Indeed he did great things for us;
How happy we were!
Lord, make us prosperous again,
Just as the rain brings water back to dry riverbeds,
Let those who wept as they planted their crops,
Gather the harvest with joy!
Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed
will come back singing for joy, as they bring in the harvest. (Today’s English Version)
This poem beautifully portrays how God’s people, individual and corporate, experience the Lord in the ups and downs of life in which three keys are indispensable. Memory is the first key, to pray faithfully is the second and to serve faithfully is the third key.
Memory is like a reservoir. A reservoir stores and provides water we cannot live without. Likewise, memory nourishes and shapes our identity, purpose and significance, and we cannot live without them. Nowadays, however, things come so easily or automatically that we tend to take them for granted. When we think of water, tap and bottle are what come to mind, and not reservoir. For many, a reservoir signifies a place for leisure and recreational activities, its foundational contribution is often ignored. Similarly, for some, memory is a synonym for nostalgia or even aging, its fundamental significance is forgotten. In the grammar of faith, however, memory is extremely important for people of the Bible. The themes of exodus, exile, covenant, and so on echo throughout the Old Testament. These memories make up the reservoir that reminds the Israelites who they were and how they are to live. In the New Testament, the Lord’s Supper and Baptism are the sources that nourish and shape the identity and mission of the followers of Jesus. The reservoir of memories gives words and music to their faith. That is why the psalmists sang as they were going up to worship. That is why we gather to worship regularly, for when we worship, we remember what great things God has done for us.
What about the reservoir for Baptists, individually and corporately, in Singapore? Of the many instances in the several decades in which the Lord has been working among the Baptists in Singapore, the recent purchase of the site for the Baptist Centre is one addition to our reservoir of memories. The project began in July 2011 but its root can be traced as far back as to the early 1980s. For those who remember the planting of the seed, the budding of the shoot along the years, and the harvest of students in recent years, Psalm 126 is a wonderful piece that gives voice to our experience. As such, the recent purchase of the premises at 1023 Upper Serangoon Road is not about a building but about experiencing God. It is about how we experience the God who is faithful and merciful. It is about the God who turns our dream into reality not because of our ambition or agenda but because of His love for the nations. It is like a dream! How we laugh, how we sing for joy! People near and far are saying about us, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Indeed He has done great things for us!
2012 has just begun and the Chinese New Year is only a few weeks away. What will the year be like? As we tread the path, let us begin this year by remembering what God has done for us. Let us begin by singing praise to the faithful and merciful God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us give thanks to God
- that He has done great things among the Baptists by bringing us together for the Baptist Centre Project.
- that He continues to assign opportunities to BTS to serve His cause.
Let us pray to God
- that we will always delight in remembering God’s acts among us.
- that we will come to know Him more as we remember His deeds.
- that we will be revived by God and arise and stand up for Him.
Sun Poling, 2012 Jan