“. . . gracious to the memory . . .”

“Be generous to every living soul, and be gracious to the memory of the dead.” (Sirach 7:33, an apocryphal book of the Old Testament)

This is a spot I’ve revisited on several occasions and even used a different photo of it in an earlier Wednesday Wonderings.  I’ve seen Seneca Rocks from different views, but none more spectacular than this as the rocks protrude from the glorious carpet of fall colors like the spires of a great cathedral and reach for the grandeur of the blue sky.  All I can say is, “WOW, thank you God!”

There are places, moments, and thoughts that we like to re-visit from time to time.  Some of those moments and thoughts are what we like to call memories.  Sometimes we consciously call up memories because they’re pleasing or because we want to honor something or someone with our thoughts.  This weekend many of us will celebrate All Saints Day, an occasion for remembering and honoring those who have passed away and claimed their place around God’s heavenly banquet table.  We remember them and give thanks for that of them that has helped to make us who we are today.

Sometimes we don’t deliberately revisit certain memories, it’s more like the memories force themselves upon us.  Those memories are generally painful and/or confusing so we try to push them away.  However, sometimes it’s important to pay attention to those memories before we push them away.  We might be revisiting the memories because God has a purpose in it.  There are occasions where bad things happen and the memories of those moments are stored away with distortions of the event or even distorted thoughts and feelings about our selves.  For example, a child might have been present when a grandparent died and stored the memory away with a sense that somehow they were responsible for the death.  Revisiting that memory and paying attention to it might lend the opportunity for the adult to find relief in knowing their childish view was distorted and they have nothing to feel guilty about.  The memory fades back into the inner recesses of their mind with a newfound sense of peace attached to it.

Memories are important.  They do more than just remind us of the past.  Memories also help us live into the future.  Sometimes when we have memories that trouble us we might benefit from discussing them with a spouse, friend, or even a professional.  Memories can bring healing and hope.  I pray that God will help me respect, cherish, and do my best to understand memories so they can help me live God’s loving way into the future.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on October 29, 2014.

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