Category Archives: Commemoration Week

Commemoration Week 2018 Friday <3

So today I am closing the week with this thought from Exodus 13: 14-16

“In the days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed every firstborn in Egypt, both man and animal.This why I sacrifice to the LORD the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.’ And it will be a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”  

Even as I type those words, the echoes of the voice of the feminist movement that began shaping my thinking back in the 70’s wants to rise up..why the males??? Are daughters not considered worthy of being dedicated. 

How deeply the systems of the world can become etched over the truths of God’s word. 

And that is what this week means to me.

This week is the one where I put up my hand to the voices that would tear away all that is good and right and true about our God. A week to press pause on the craziness of too many voices and tune my ears to One Voice.

Because the Pharaoh that stubbornly refuses to allow each one of us to leave the bondage of our worldly viewpoints continues to hold God’s children captive.

And we help greatly when we cooperate in that bondage by refusing to leave the dicey, but familiar, comfort of captivity.

This passage isn’t about alpha males and a chauvinistic God who disregards the worth of women. 

No. 

This passage is about a God who knows who we are and what we are made of.

He knows that even when we are set free, we are prone to forget. 

And so He provided Israel with a giant reminder of His deliverance. 

And He provided us with a picture of what would come when the time was right.

Because it would be His firstborn who would be sacrificed to redeem us. 

A son.

Jesus Christ.

Born of a woman named Mary.

The sign on His hand would be a piercing nail that held Him to what should have been our cross.

The sign on His head would be a thorny crown jammed down hard by our arrogant mocking.

And it would be His blood that would buy us back, pay the debt, cancel the sin.

So, as God’s children, male and female, sons and daughters, I remind us this week…

When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

How much more (than the animal sacrifices of the Law), then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!  Hebrews 11-14

Remember Him and honor Him well as He surely has remembered you <3

Commemoration Week 2018 Thursday <3

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Just because I said it is a special week for reflection and meditation, please do not imagine for one minute that my schedule has miraculously freed up and I have been sitting on some park bench in some retreat center with my Bible open and my pen hovering over my “journal” which is always and forever a plain old spiral notebook like you buy at the Back to School section of Target. 

Only a lot of times I am using old ones I found cleaning out some bag or closet where one of the kids or yours truly only used the first few pages and voila! I have a new “journal.”

So no.

This week is only special because as I go about the ten hundred thousand other things that I do every week and sneak in some dusting and laundry and cleaning bathrooms, I make the week different by intentionally forcing my mind to … well…commemorate.

So it is probably helpful to take a quick peek at what that word means…

Commemorate: to recall and show respect for (someone or something);

to celebrate (an event, a person, or a situation) by doing or building something. 

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So I commemorate by reminding myself…

 as I run errands and work at the store and watch grandchildren, and answer texts and emails and all the things…

how, just like the Israelites homes and lives were protected by the blood of those lambs and goats we talked about yesterday, our home and lives are covered with the protection of the Blood of Jesus that purchased our salvation.

Much like those Israelites crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground and then turned around and watched it fold back over the army of the ones who had held them captive for generations…

I think about how my God has defeated every enemy I can think of that would hold me captive, including death. 

While I am a work in progress and have surely been the poster child for “prone to wander, Lord I feel it”…I was saved and redeemed the day I received Christ. 

I was transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. 

No turning back…no turning back…

and as long as I am borrowing lines from hymns and songs, I may as well quote some Scripture to finish our time together today ….

This is a day you are to commemorate; for generations to come you shall celebrate it is a festival to the LORD – a lasting ordinance.

Exodus 12:14

Sure He was talking about keeping the Passover and He had very specific rules for this feast in Israel and I am not replacing that with my own version.

But I am taking to heart the concept of the commandment to commemorate…

to celebrate God and what He has done.

To celebrate my once and for all salvation, as well as the process of sanctification and the mud heaps He continues to pull me out of and the ways He loves me and cares for me. 

I am so thankful you have joined me thus far this week for the celebration. 

I hope you are taking it to heart and having some moments of commemoration yourself.

It is my prayer you are finding yourself in a party mode all day in the midst of the ordinary as you contemplate the great works of the Lord in your own life thus far. 

Blessings and I look forward to tomorrow. 

Commemoration Week 2018 Wednesday <3

As I have been reading through Exodus 12 several times a day this week, my mind continues to paint more color around the black and white type of my Bible.

I don’t add my own thoughts to the story, but I enter in to the setting and apply what I know of this physical world to the details of that first Passover.

I think how God declared to be a shift in their calendar. 

This will be the new start of your year. 

Every year. 

This will be New Year’s Day for you from now on.

Like we would plan our grocery purchases for the amount coming to dinner, they were to select their lamb or goat to provide enough but not too much. 

Small family…perhaps a single mom with one or two children? A widow or widower living alone or with another aged sibling? Take shelter in someone else’s home and join together to share the meal.

All the community gathering outside their homes that night at twilight as the sound of the sacrifice cut through the paths that led from house to house. 

To our urban minds, the thought of drawing the knife across a living animal seems barbaric and, ironically…”inhumane.” 

We prefer buying our meat nicely packaged and far from the slaughter house floor. 

We think we are above the cruelty of taking an animal’s life. 

When we do so, we miss the whole point of our humanity … what we are … who we are…and who God is.

We forget that the first knife that ever took the life of one of those animals we rally to protect the rights of was God’s hand skinning His creation to cover the shame of our willful desire to be our own god. 

And so Israel gathered outside their homes that evening and, as families, they each slaughtered…a harsh but necessary word…the lamb or goat that had been in their homes for four days….and they took some of the blood and spread it across the doorposts of their houses as a sign. 

With traveling clothes on and luggage packed, they roasted the meat and ate it with unleavened bread…and burned whatever was left and listened as night brought death over all of the land except where they were gathered. 

And in that darkness of night Moses was called out by Pharaoh and urged to gather the people and leave. 

I think of times we have awakened at four in the morning to sleepily dress and grab our packed suitcases and head to the airport through star lit country roads. To catch a flight before the sun rises.

I think of the Egyptians loading these people up with their own possessions to send them on their way. 

What was that like as the people who had been their captors insisted they take some of their favorite possessions…cloth and sliver and gold and jewelry…as this group of people moved out in mass from the area?

The animals herded, children carried in arms…and blood stained doorposts left behind. 

Surely the Egyptians looked on those houses and wondered about this God who had come to rescue His people in a way never seen before. 

No army had defeated them this time.

Just a God who had shown up in the night and called His people out of the darkness.  

And so we marvel today….

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.  1 Corinthians 11: 23-26

Commemoration Week 2018 Tuesday <3

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Our move up north of town has put us on the edge of the fields that surround our city and I don’t mind one little bit. 

I love watching the seasons change the landscape as we drive or walk or bike around the area. 

I also love the fact that the crops and the weather give me half a shot at making small talk because as many words as I manage to tap out on these keys or yak at family and close friends, I pretty much stink at small talk. 

So I can talk about the heat and humidity or the cold and humidity…and make some lame observation about the condition of the crops and I’m good for a few minutes of chit chat. 

Recently I was talking to a close friend who happens to also be a farmer and so even though I don’t struggle with small talk with him, I do try to mention something I have noticed about the corn and soy beans or harvest during those seasons because I know that is his passion.

I mentioned to him how we had been noticing the beans were crazy tall this year and I wondered if this was something new. 

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He said they do it some years, depending on the conditions and I asked if that was good and he responded not necessarily. 

And then he said this ….

We aren’t trying to grow leaves, we are trying to grow beans. 

He pointed out that sometimes the plants can put all their energy into the foliage and the beans suffer. 

Wow. 

I have mulled that over for a couple of weeks now because it preaches. 

It’s what Commemoration Week is all about. 

Because I can get pretty caught up in spending a fair amount of energy on stuff that boils down to producing a lot of green leaves…and neglect the nourishment needed for the beans..the fruit…the outcome…the whole point of why I follow Christ. 

He has called me out of the darkness and into His Light and sometimes I forget that all that I have is because of Him.

Last night I did my first deep read through of Exodus 12-14, just like I do every year at this time. 

I read it in my old pink flowered Women’s Devotional Bible that Russ gave me back on March 28, 1996.

The one that is marked up from front to back and stained with tears and coffee and notes and pictures of our three…and the children of two dear friends who prayed for ours as I prayed for theirs. 

Happens one of those families and one of those pictures is our son-in-law Zach’s. 

So today a prayer of gratitude for the remembrance of what God has given us over these years here in our community.

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Heavenly Father, as I read through the notes from sermons or things You showed me in my quiet time, I thank You for Your faithfulness.

All my childhood, I wanted roots that went deep. 

I wanted to know people for longer than a few years before we moved on. And here I hold in my hands the legacy of Your Word woven into the gift of longevity in our journey.

You have let us grow up and grow older with a group of people who love You and have shaped the story of our lives. 

I have learned (and I sense You may have chuckled a time or two over this) that there is a different kind of challenge that comes with lifelong friendships held fast by a shared community.

I have learned that some of those friendships don’t survive, because a distance can grow that doesn’t involve moving physically. 

And I have learned how painful that is. But I have also learned that You were serious about that pruning parable and You know best what is spent too much on leaves when You are in the business of helping us bear fruit.

So I thank You, Father God, for the history of love  and the gift of so many friends who are family and then family who are friends. 

You have done well for us and given us great joy and I am so thankful. 

Help us to live with wide-open hands and hearts as we move farther along. 

Your faithfulness and kindness are a testimony of Your goodness and love for us and we are so grateful. 

Amen <3

Commemoration Week 2018 Monday <3

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So if you are new to the Journey, Commemoration Week is something I started in 2005 and I am just a wee bit blown away to realize that was 13 years ago AND I have managed to write about it on this blog for five years counting this one.

I just read through all of them from past years and if you have an interest you can find them by entering “Commemoration Week” in the search box at the bottom of this post and you should be able to pull them up.

Here is how the week came about and what it means to me:

In 2005, I stumbled across Exodus 12 – 14 with fresh eyes and strong conviction that freedom from slavery should be intentionally celebrated. When I read these passages, my picture loving mind is aided by childhood memories of Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood version of the story…which are still impressive considering the technology available at the time – hello…the Red Sea? Ah-mazing.

Phrases like…

Commemorate this day, the day you came out of the land of Egypt, OUT OF THE LAND OF SLAVERY, because the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand.      Exodus 13:3 NIV

and

In days to come, when your son asks you, “What does this mean?” say to him, “With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”   Exodus 13:14 NIV

My journal records my thoughts from that year on how important it is for me to make it a point to remember…to remember that I was enslaved to sin..and that it was the LORD who delivered me.

While I am reminded weekly as we take communion and daily…minute by minute…of my great need of Him and gratitude for His gift of salvation, it seemed worthwhile to set aside time to think about His mighty hand and to commemorate all that He has done for me. The traditional celebrations of events in the life of Christ and what they mean are also full of extras…family meals, holiday events at work and in the community…things we have added on to the true meaning of what we are celebrating.

So this week in August has become a time of meditation and pondering on celebrating all that our Mighty God has done for us.

Since it was August 13th when I journaled those thoughts back in 2005, I mark off the week that falls around that date every year and contemplate and celebrate the freedom that was given to me through salvation in Jesus Christ.

As I looked back and read all the posts for this week from the start of the blog, I was confused by last year. Until I read the one that said I was having a more private observance.

And then a week later I reflected on this week that has been so dear to me for so many years and I admitted to you all that I was bone dry.

Wrung out from too many things that had chipped away at my heart and my soul and I told you I realized I needed some deep healing.

So I sit here tonight on our couch with a big old lump of gratitude in my heart that I tapped that out on these keys with honest and raw truth because I have it recorded.

And I might have forgotten that it was during this week last year that I realized I had grieved and mourned to the full extent of loss and I was starting to move into that shady gray area where what we lost becomes an idol.

So it was a year ago when I set my heart to accept that it was time to move on and I quieted myself in new ways and pressed back deep into saturating my mind and soul with God’s Word in study and meditation.

And He started knitting the fragments back into a new heart.

In the month of January I shared a series on Deep Healing that was born from the work God did in me from last August through the end of the year.

I am so grateful for what He has done in me since a year ago when this special week was my turning point on the road back to healing a broken heart.

I am looking forward to setting aside this week in dedication to declaring the goodness and mercy of our God and celebrating FREEDOM with you this year!

I know we just had VBS last week….and I hope you aren’t burned out.

I also hope if you are in a season where your heart is breaking, you will join me each day with all the pieces held safe in nail-scarred hands.

This is a week of celebrating and remembering our God and HIs faithfulness to us in ALL seasons.

So maybe take some time to visit Exodus 13 and 14 and join me back here tomorrow <3