Memories to Cherish, Moments to Celebrate

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Memories… light the corners of my mind…these words from a song came to mind as I read this verse:
Deuteronomy 16
3….so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.

This chapter is all about festive celebrations that God wanted the Israelites to observe. What for? So they would remember all their lives throughout the generations that special day of liberation… so they would not forget their Redeemer God – the God who freed them from bondage of slavery.

When I was young, I had better memory: i could memorise all the lessons/facts/formulas/details of all the subjects in school. I even memorised all the schedules of my favourite TV shows – days, time, channels etc. Then there were birthdays, phone numbers, bank account numbers etc. As ageing caught up with me, i am often frustrated that I cannot even remember whether i took my meds 5 minutes after I did.

Indeed our capacity to remember is an important asset of our being. A person with amnesia can be likened to a tree with no root. It’s terrible not to remember your past – even the good and the bad. While we need to let go of the past with its wrongs, errors, mistakes, regrets – for our actions and those of others, we also need to hold on to the good.. the right, the hurdles we leaped through, the temptations we overcome, the healing and the guidance we had – that led us up to where we are now.

There is a Chinese saying: 饮水思原. Drink water and think of its origin.
Children of God need to always remember… remember God’s blessings, guidance and even discipline on them. Every moment, day by day, all by God’s grace and mercy – let these memories light the corners of my mind and my heart – that I will not forget lest I stumble and fall and stay fallen along this journey called life.

Deuteronomy 16:1-17, 3 times a year, God instructed the Israelites to celebrate 3 feasts: Feast of Passover (Unleavened Bread), Feast of Weeks, Feast of Booths.

1) Why: To remember… God’s liberation from slavery; God’s provision during harvest
2) Where: in the place where the Lord chooses to establish His name. vv. 2,6,11,15
3) Celebrate with whom: with sons/daughters, slaves, Levites, foreigners, orphans and widows (Celebrating God’s goodness is not exclusive – they were to celebrate with all – slave or free, foreign or local, poor or rich) vv.11, 14
4) How: They are not to celebrate empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, (NASB) according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. (NIV) in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you. vv.10, 17.

A feast is a time of celebration and thanksgiving. It is a time of worship.
1) In worship, we remember… we recall God’s deliverance, God’s protection and God’s provision.
2) When we worship, is God’s name glorified? Is our place of worship the place where He chooses to establish His name?
3) When we worship, do we include all people…even the marginalized?
4) What do we bring before God in our worship? Do we give according to the blessing of the Lord our God has given us?

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