Last week we began a three-week emphasis, “The Stewardship of Memory,” and Timothy asked us to think about our favorite Wilshire memories. My mind has been wandering ever since and recalling moments from my time at Wilshire and throughout my life of faith.
Many of my memories revolve around the church buildings of my youth, and particularly my childhood church in Austin. Sitting next to my parents in worship as a child and playing with my mother’s jewelry. My father placing his hand on my shoulder when I was being too disruptive. Attending family dedications and funerals, my own wedding and ordination. I counted organ pipes as my mind wandered, learned to sing alto, created inside jokes with my siblings and, with enough repetition, came to learn the voice of God in that room. There was nothing about its construction that was inherently sacred, but it became that way to me over time, and memories of those experiences flood back to me upon reflection.
The memories I made there have fed into new memories in this space as well. Certain hymns we sing will remind me of a funeral I attended and how faith was modeled to me in an intergenerational way. Scripture verses that are read help me to recall lessons from Sunday School teachers and youth retreats. Every time we have a baptism I am reminded of my own journey into the baptismal waters. This space too has become sacred to me, a place where I can come and experience the love of God through joining in community with each of you.
Now that two of my children are old enough to join us in this Sanctuary, I am witnessing them making their own memories. Taking in the rituals of our faith, learning the character of God through song, Scripture and community. And while my hand is significantly smaller than my father’s, I have found that it is still capable of sending a gentle reminder before fits of giggles get too out of hand. Perhaps they too will come to know the voice of God in this room. The memories you steward will pass on to them as well.
What memories might you recall in worship this morning? In this time of reflection may we hold space for our memories and how they have shaped our faith, and look forward with anticipation to the memories to come.