It occurred to me yesterday that I met my Father for the first time when he was 32 years old. By the time I could interact with him and learn from him in ways that I can remember he was a few years older. By the time I was able to appreciate the time we had together he was 10 years from dying. That is our blessing and our curse as human beings living in a fallen world. We never appreciate as we should the gifts that we have until it is too late. Even when we know that we should be appreciating what we have there s something in us that doesn’t allow that to happen as it should. Luther’s constant call for Christians to be thankful and the belief that so much of the trials and tribulations that they experienced were “rods and scourges” of God for their unthankfullness, is certainly a call for more attention to be paid to God’s gifts.
One of the things that happens in times like these is that there is a lot of reminiscing that goes on. A reminiscence is something from the past that is recalled to the present and made active. The Bible word that means the same thing is more than just thinking happy thoughts. When Jesus says to remember Him when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, it is not just reminiscing it is a belief that Christ’s life, death and resurrection are active in our life now by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Although some young people think it gets tiresome, remembering and reminiscing are one of the great gifts of ageing. It is a chance to rehearse blessings and a chance to ask for forgiveness for sins of the past that haunt our present. It is a chance for the young, if they are willing to listen to join in the long line of witnesses and teachers, both good and bad, that every family has, and get into that long line of history that makes us what we are. The we get transplanted into God’s story and we can thank God who remembers us in mercy.