“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6
I’ve never considered this before, but today I’m realizing that one of the qualities that sets mankind apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to remember. I know that animals remember to some level – clearly our pets remember us and sometimes prove that after weeks or months of separation. Animals return to their homes and follow familiar patterns, but I wonder how much of that is ‘instinct’ and how much is true remembering?
Today I find myself remembering both those dear to me who have died and those whose lost lives reflect a sacrifice for me. When I remember the ones that I’ve known intimately I actually can ‘re-member’ them, calling to mind their features, voices, character and the idiosyncrasies that gave them their unique humanity. When I remember the broader group of those who died in battles fought in my stead, I remember human courage and honor and devotion – a dedication to an ideal that underpins the life I enjoy today. I also remember the loss, agony and grief of the families that waited for the return of these loved ones. In all of this I remember the God of my fathers and the God of my life today. This remembering is another mark of humanity – that we remember God before we see Him with our eyes. That remembering God is over and under and through the physical memories of our lives.
The good life I enjoy today is built on a foundation of many well-lived and honorably died lives that are past. For this I am thankful. For this I thank God.
“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” Psalms 63:6-8