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“Raising Ebenezers”
by Tom Goodman
March 16, 2005

Did you read about the 30-year-old man suffering from amnesia?  The man and his new bride were at the Houston airport, preparing to leave for a honeymoon in Italy.  When he found he had forgotten his wallet, he left his wife to return to the airport parking lot—and he never came back.  Apparently he slipped and struck his head while in the parking lot, because when police found him three days later wandering around Houston, he could not remember his name or where he had been.  When the police showed him a photograph of his bride taken at their wedding just a week earlier, he had no idea who the woman was.  Last I heard, the man was recovering well.

Can you imagine forgetting the wife you just married?  Then again, I wonder how many of us suffer from a kind of “amnesia” in our relationship with God.  We forget that we’re united to him, we forget his blessings, and we forget our obligations to him.

The Bible is a book filled with the call to remember.  The saddest indictment of God’s people is in Psalm 78:11, “They forgot what he has done, the wonders he has shown them.”  The most significant ceremony in the Old Testament—the Passover—was a call to remember what God had done for Israel in Egypt.  In the New Testament, the Lord’s Supper was instituted by these words of Jesus:  “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Each Sunday is a day to gather and remember what God has done for us and what he has promised us.

In 1 Samuel 7, we read of an uprising of the Philistines that sent fear into all Israel.  “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us,” the people pleaded, “that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.”

The priest prayed, God answered, and Israel easily routed their opponents.  In commemoration of the Lord’s help, Samuel set up a stone and called it “Ebenezer,” which means “stone of help.”  He explained the marker to the people, saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.”

That is the reference behind Robert Robinson’s second stanza in his eighteenth-century hymn, “Come, Thou Fount” — “Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by thy help I’m come.”

We raise children and raise toasts and raise buildings.  We also need to raise some Ebenezers from time to time.  This Palm Sunday will be a good Sunday to do just that.  See you at 10:45!


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