"Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. 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. When it crossed the Jordan the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."
What an awesome picture! Representatives from each of the 12 tribes, building an altar of memorial with stones taken from the middle of the Jordan river bed. Why? So that when their kids and their grandkids ask abou that pile of stones, they can tell them the story of God's great deliverance.
It makes me think of my own altars. Because remembering the past and God's faithfulness is good. Living in the past isn't.
There's an old ferry dock in Eastern Ontario, Canada where I was baptized in water in the Bay of Quinte. I was there again with my wife not too long ago and I said, 'See, right over there is where I was baptized'...and the memories came rushing back.
There's an old country church not far from there where I was first called to ministry, standing near the altar down front on the left hand side next to the upright piano my Mom was playing.
Then there's a hockey arena in Kingston, Ontario, Canada where at a youth convention God called me back from an extended period of running from Him and His call on my life, and since that moment I have never been the same.
And there have been many more. A college prayer room, an office carpet where I prayed next to a second hand couch and God met me, a hotel room in Miami Florida, USA where God confirmed a call to a new chapter, and so many others. All places where altars of memorial were built, figuratively speaking. All places with stories.
Just because we are afraid of living in the past, doesn't mean we shouldn't remember. These memories are foundational to who we are today - to what God has helped us become. And these stories can motivate others...build their faith to believe that God can and will meet them in similar ways.
I am curious about your altars. What are some of them? I welcome your comments.