What’s your earliest memory?

As I reflect on this,  I’m taken back to my hometown of Southport. This was my birthplace, so you could say I am officially a ‘Sandgrounder’. My grandparents on both sides lived there and all our family and friends too. The earliest memory though is one which included my Uncle Ken, I had received a new Cowboy style tent (for either a birthday or Christmas). My brother had an Indian style wigwam and we loved playing cowboys and Indians. However, the memory is of having lunch with my Uncle in the garden sitting in my tent, not an earth shattering exciting memory but one that’s stayed with me.

I’m sure we can all think back to memories that make us smile with nostalgia, likewise I’m sure we can all think back to memories that make us cry with laughter and memories that makes us cry with pain.  

Memories are important – they shape us into the people that we are today. Its experiences shared with others that mould us and leave lasting impressions upon our lives. I sometimes have to ‘check’ myself when as a parent I say to my children, ‘When I was your age…’ In doing this two things are happening; Firstly, I’m thinking back to a memory that impacted me enough to leave a lasting impression that I want to share with my children in the hope that they will also learn from it. Secondly, I’m admitting my age and turning into my dad, who used to say the same thing to me!!

November is a time for remembering. As a nation we are called to remember those who have fallen in wars both past and present and the poppy that we wear is a visual reminder of this. To give thanks for the sacrifice made by so many so that we might be able to live the life that we have today. But the colour of the poppy is a reminder of the bloodshed and the cost.

The most important thing about these memories or experiences is that we learn from them. That through them we can grow into better, wiser more mature individuals. That is also true of us a people and a nation.  Can I encourage you to pray for our government and all those in positions of leadership, that they would be filled with Godly wisdom and seek the common good.

The most amazing thing about the Christian faith is that we are always growing (or at least we should be) we are not to stand still or indeed long for the past. Instead Paul teaches us in Philippians 3: 13-14 But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’

As a Christian we are to look for those signs of God in and around us, to rejoice in all that God is doing and to keep going in the faith. As we do we are (sometimes without knowing it) being shaped and changed by God. Looking back is important, theres nothing wrong with that, the problem occurs if we want to go back because when we do that we stop moving forward. Pressing on is sometimes hard, but we don’t do it on our own! God promises to be with us.

Earlier in this letter I wrote, ‘I’m admitting my age and turning into my dad’. This wasn’t a throw away comment, this is something we are all called to. However, its our heavenly father that we should be resembling as we become more and more the people he calls us to be.

As we reflect upon his sacrifice lets allow him to shape and direct our lives. Ephesians 5:1-2

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

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