Keep these words…recite them to your children…
July 3, 2022, 7:00 PM

Keep these words…recite them to your children…write them on the doorposts of your house… Deuteronomy 6: 6-9


Speakers at the ceremonies that take place at this time of year to mark the completion of High School or College are fond of pointing out that the ceremony is not so much a “graduation:” a celebration of what is past, but rather a “commencement:” a launching into the future. This is true, of course, and it is appropriate as young people are getting ready to begin new endeavors in education, work, and service. However, we should not be too quick to leave the past behind as we head off into the future. It is good to take time to remember, even as we look forward.

In the years that our children: Marty , Katie, and Jordan graduated, we put together photo collages of their lives. This was made possible by Cathy’s work on sorting all our boxes of photos and putting them in albums [Ah, the days before digital!]. This had not been done since our oldest child was about 1 ½ years old, and the other two not yet born! It was wonderful for all of us as we saw the work progress, and looked at all the photos of important events and everyday happenings. “Hey Marty, you finally have hair!” “Katie was at this family reunion, just look at Mom’s tummy!” “See, Jordan, we did take pictures of you after all!” We all marveled at how cute all the kids were; we remembered deceased relatives and pets; we relived vacations. We remembered who we are.

In many Jewish households, one finds on the side post of the entry door a small box called a “mezuzah.” (In the Hebrew language, “mezuzah” literally means “doorpost.”) Contained in the box is a small scroll with the words of the “Shema” (means literally: “hear”) from Deuteronomy chapter 6: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone…” . The Shema is the words of Moses to the Israelites, just before they crossed the Jordan river into the promised land. The Shema goes on to remind the Israelites that it is God who brought them out of Egypt into the promised land. It also warns them that when they are finally prosperous, that they should remember that God, not their own power, brought them to this place. The mezuzah is touched as any person passes through the doorway, to remind them of God, and how God cared for the people, and how God continues to care for them. In doing so, they remember who they are.

Whether this year is of particular importance to you or not, it is still appropriate to take a moment to remember who you are, especially in relation to God. Remember, as you go out to work, that God has given you a mind and body to do your work. Remember, as you begin a vacation, that God blesses, and even commands, rest; (there is a reason we call it “re-creation”!) Remember, as you enjoy the warm sunshine, and the fruits of garden and field, that God has created all things that we need and desire. Remember, as you begin a new phase of your life, that God has been with you to this point in your life, and has promised to be with you always – as far as your journey goes.

Remember who you are, and whose you are.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Matt Stengel