As I was preparing for a memorial service this week, I went back and read an old article I had published in June 2003. It seemed appropriate to share it with you, so I post it in its entirety, below.
When Israel crossed the Jordan River led by the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, not one Jewish foot got wet (Joshua 3:17). Safely reaching the other side, Joshua, following the LORD’s command, had a monument set up. Twelve stones, one for each tribe, were set up as a memorial to God’s protection of His people
Many nations have similar holidays, when the national heroes are remembered. If the Soviet Empire was good at anything, it was the erection of statues and monuments. Heroic statues dominated parks and corners in the most far-flung corners of the
This is not necessarily the case all over the world. In fact, the Tradewinds, a West Indian musical group, laments the lack of heroic remembrances of the past in a song titled, “Where Are Your Heroes,
When my wife and I travel to
One might argue that statues of Soviet heroes constitute religious art, or even iconography. That by keeping these relics, the nation is merely keeping alive the memory of their Soviet masters. I, for one, think that the Hungarians have done a brave and wonderful thing by keeping these statues as a reminder of a dark and vicious time in their history.
God's Word tells us that we need to remember the past. In fact the word “remember” is used more than 230 times in Scripture. Granted, most of those references refer to remembering the Covenant and the goodness of God. But some are historical references, which bid us to remember the dark days. For instance:
Deuteronomy 24:22 teaches, “Remember that you were slaves in
Deuteronomy 25:17 advises, “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of
Deuteronomy 32:7 says, “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.”
The Apostle Paul instructs us, in Ephesians 2:12, to remember that we “were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in
History has meaning, and we abandon it at our own peril. A society is well-served which is reminded of its own atrocities as well as those perpetrated upon it. A nation should properly commemorate its accomplishments as well as its flights into plain old national airheadedness. Christians, especially, should have no problem embracing the idea that history is the glorious tracing of the goodness of God — in our lives and in the grand scheme of things.
Yes, we should tear down the "high things," those idols to which we often give our obeisance. They often take less concrete a form than statues, however. Sometimes we are our own idols, or we pay homage to such things as education, good looks, and lineage (including church lineage!). Such idols need to be taken off the altar of our hearts and replaced with service to the One, True God. There are things that we should remember, however. Our collective heritage should be remembered. Our wars, our societal strife, our outrage, and our servitude should not be erased from our memories. Just as God’s Word looks back at the history of