A song lyric that I have found myself singing throughout the work of planting All Saints East Dallas is the second verse to “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”.
“Here I raise my ebenezer, hither by thy help I’ve come.
And I hope by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God.
He to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.”
And the place I always get stuck is on the first phrase, “here I raise my ebenezer.” What, you may ask, is an ebenezer? Is it more than a shrewd Dickensian character? Yes. It is a “stone of help” - Samuel used a rock to remember and proclaim God’s help to the people of Israel in the face of battle with the Philistines (see 1 Sam 7:12). I lovingly refer to an ebenezer as a rock of remembrance. Remembering what God has done for me, how faithful he has been despite my wanderings, remembering what he has promised, and always trusting in him to continue and accomplish the work he has begun here in East Dallas.
It is good for our souls to remember what God has done. Our minds and hearts are so quick to forget. We are so quick to move past the concrete, loving, and oftentimes miraculous works of God on our behalf in our lives, our families, and throughout history.
The power of memory is made stronger in community, in the Church, as we gather each Sunday to remember God’s great love for us in his self-giving in Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In that moment of remembrance, of raising our ebenezer, God is present to us powerfully in the bread and wine.
God is also present to us powerfully in Pastorates. In these spaces of connection and desired transformation the power of memory is brought to bear as we live in God’s presence and live out his love. We breathe in his grace, his faithfulness, his unfailing kindness to us, and we breathe out that same goodness in the presence of others. If you’re not part of a Pastorate, join one today by signing up here. Pastorates begin next week.