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It happened right here

Posted on June 15, 2021

Church News
Russ Veldman

Russ Veldman

Where were you when the airplanes were flown into the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001? My wife called me from work and told me to turn on the TV because something big was happening. I went home, turned on the TV, and was standing there in our living room when the second airplane struck. That memory is burned into my brain as I tried to make sense out of what I was seeing. I remember staring at the screen with my hands on the back of our couch, standing on that soft beige carpet. My memory of that event is tied to where I viewed it from.

In Psalm 48, the Psalmist remembers a location where God’s people saw his deliverance take place. Several kings assembled their armies to attack Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. But as they approached and saw the city on the hill of Mt. Zion, they were struck with fear and turned back. The Psalmist understands that, in this way, God defended Jerusalem. After offering up words of praise for this (verses 9-11), the Psalmist turns to instruction. He writes, “Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that he is God, our God forever and ever” (verses 12-13). He invites people to tour the city, touch the stone wall and pillars, view the architecture, recalling all the memories of God’s deliverance that are attached to this place. A father could say to a child, “I was standing right here, in this spot, when the armies advanced against us and God suddenly drove them away in fear.” Such testimonies of faith are intended to point the next generation to the same God, urging them to put their trust in the Lord as well.

Today, our memories are attached to places as well. There are folks who can point to the exact spot in a church where they first understood the gospel and responded in faith. There are folks who can point to a seat in a sanctuary and tell you that right there they definitely heard from God. This is partly why it hurts so much to see your church remodeled, demolished, sold or closed. That church is holy ground, a place where God showed up and you met him.

But the Psalmist would want us to do far more than preserve holy sites that are dear to our hearts. He wants us to show them to others and tell our story. “At the end of his altar rail was where my sins were forgiven by Jesus,” we should share. Or, “Let me tell you of a time I offered up in prayer a terrible burden to the Lord when I was sitting right over there - and he answered that prayer in a definitive way.” This is walking about Jerusalem, touching the structures, recalling the memories, for the express purpose of passing on the faith to the next generation. Let’s be people who tell our stories to younger people so that they will know that there is still a God in Israel, and right here in Lawrenceville, too.

Russ Veldman is pastor at Lawrenceville’s Free Methodist Church. He has been a resident of Lawrence County since 2013.


RUSS VELDMAN
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