Hear, O Claremont.
A devotion I gave at CBC last week for a prayer night:
Have you ever forgotten anything? Maybe you forgot a TV show or where you put your keys? Maybe you’ve forgotten to put the bins out, to realize you actually had already put the bins out or you’ve forgotten where you put your glasses to find them on your head? Have you ever forgotten someone’s birthday? Have you ever forgotten your own birthday?
If you have, don’t panic, even Einstein forgot things. One time, so the story goes, half way through shaving, he had a brilliant idea which he just had to write down. Hours later when getting ready to go out that night, he realized there was still shaving cream on half of his face – he forgot to finish shaving! Another time he was in a taxi and forgot his own address. Fortunately, the taxi driver knew where he lived. Again another time, he was on a train and panicked when the conductor was checking tickets. Knowing who he Einstein, the conductor let him off this one time. But Einstein responded by saying, “That’s nice, but I’ve forgotten my destination!”
Or have you ever had amnesia? One of my lecturers had amnesia once when he fell off a bike in another country and woke up in a hospital, not knowing where he was, who he was, or what he was doing there surrounded by people speaking a language he couldn’t understand. Fortunately, when he saw his friends an hour later his memory came completely back.
There’s one thing we cannot forget. We cannot forget the Lord our God.
When Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he commanded them to never forget God and what He had done for them. Entering into this new stage of their existence, Moses knew that if they forgot what God had done for them, their relationship with God would diminish. So we read in Deu 6:4-12:
“Hear, O Israel, The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorsteps of your house and on your gates. When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you – a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant – and when you have eaten your fill, take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” (Deu 6:4-12)
This is a cry of allegiance. It’s Israel’s way of saying, “YHWH is our God and no other.”
Why? Because they remembered what he had done for us! They remembered the incredible salvation that he gave them when he took them out of Egypt toward this new land.
And the message is the same for today, for the Church, internationally, in Australia, in Perth, in Claremont Baptist Church. As we move into a new stage of this congregation’s existence, as we think about what this Sunday night will look like in the future, we must not forget what the Lord has done for us. We must not forget the salvation that Christ has achieved for us.
Because if we forget, it’s like having amnesia: we forget the past, so we forget who we are, which would mean we don’t know where we’re going.
Albert Einstein forgot the past, he forgot that was shaving; he forgot the present, he forgot his address; he didn’t know the future, he forgot his destination.
Like the Israelites, we must not forget the Lord. We must not forget God’s salvation offered us in Christ Jesus.
As we look toward the future of Claremont Baptist Church, we must not forget what Christ did for us.
We can be comforted however, by the fact that God is gracious. Einstein forgot stuff occasionally, but he was still a brilliant man. The Israelites forgot. They forgot God and went astray. Even when they were so bad that they went into exile, God still brought them back.
So as we plan for the future, we will strive to be the church that God wants us to be and we will take the effort to do the things God wants us to do. But when we stuff up, we know that our gracious God holds us firmly. As Paul says,
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39)
And this should give us peace and hope. It should comfort us.
So, Claremont, let us remember the love of Christ, because if we forget that, we forget who we are as the Church, and we don’t know where to go. But if we occasionally slip up, we know that Christ will catch us and put us back on course.
So what I’m wanting us to pray for tonight, as we think about the future of this evening service and the future of Claremont as a whole, are based around these 3 prayer points which will be on the screen:
- To have a renewed sense of God’s love and grace.
- To have a renewed sense of Christ’s presence.
- To have a renewed sense of the Spirit’s guidance and direction.