The names have been changed

Since the mid 1980’s I have enjoyed the honor and privilege of announcing to audiences of various sizes, “Forasmuch as this man and this woman have consented together in Holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company and have declared the same by the joining of hands, I pronounce that they are husband and wife in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.” And with each and every pronouncement thus begins a new story and a new family. I remember telling a young couple years ago not to worry about any little mistakes we might make in the ceremony, we’re just making memories! To this day they still laugh and tell me, Pastor, we’re still making memories! I am reminded each time I open up my old church manual to get prepared for a new wedding of the memories I have of each of them. Now don’t laugh when I confess this, but just to make sure I don’t mess up a name in a wedding service I have adopted the practice of using a colorful post it note inside the afore mentioned manual with the correct name of the bride and groom so I don’t make a memory! I tell you this because I always move the names to the back of the manual and at this very moment you can open the back pages of my old manual and you will see a colorful display of names that I have used in wedding ceremonies from years gone by. I still look fondly on each of them remembering myself of the day each of them began a new story, and new chapter, and new family.

So what’s your story? How is it being written? Do you like what you can read so far? I love the fact that the scriptures tell us that God has a good memory. Peppered throughout the Old Testament we hear the words, “And God Remembered.” He remembers people, He remembers promises and He remembers the actions of His creation. I believe I am safe in assuming that He knows the story of our lives right now. Every facet is common knowledge to the one who inhabits the heavens and earth. The wonderful truth is that he has given us the capacity to not only make memories but also glean from them. First I think we need to realize that memories are important. Solomon wrote, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;” Our memories are helpful in guiding and directing our lives for His glory and for our good. Someone wrote, “Forget each kindness that you do as soon as you have done it. Forget the praise that falls to you the moment you have won it. Forget the slander that you hear before you can repeat it. Forget each slight, each spite, each sneer,

whenever you may meet. Remember every promise made and keep it to the letter. Remember those who lend you aid and be a grateful debtor. Remember all the happiness that comes your way in living. Forget each worry and distress; be hopeful and forgiving. Remember good, remember truth, remember heaven is above you. And you will find, through age and youth, that many will love you.” Secondly I believe that memories are precious. Each and every funeral service we attend we are reminded of he importance of memories and the weight they carry. John Locke once said that memory was the only paradise from which man cannot be driven. It stands to reason that since memories are precious we should make them the best they can be.

Lastly we must consider the reality that memories are being made by you, right now. Good or bad, happy or sad, right or wrong they are being made. And because memories are important and precious we should be truly aware of our lives at this moment. Maybe that is why Jesus could be found saying to his followers… remember. “Remember lot’s wife”, “Remember the words I said to you” and in the book of the Revelation in a letter to the church at Sardis he says, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.” Oh how important are the words we say, the actions we display and chapters we write. You see, memories will outlive us and have a profound effect on those who are a part of our life’s story. Someone once said, “I would not give much for your religion unless it can be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine.” What kind of memories are you making? More importantly, are you making them count?

Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.