“Going from this place to another place is like the bird in winter
who remembers the beauty of her Springtime nest
just to keep herself from freezing.”
~ Nancy Wood
As summer approaches memories of summers past flood my mind and bring a smile to my face. Though my father and oldest brother no longer share this life, the memories of the fun we shared sustain me through the roughest days.
The gift of our memory is something we rarely think about until we get to the age where we have trouble remembering. However, memory enables us to recall our blessings, to give thanks for them, and to grow because of them. Good memories can encourage us, warm us on a cold day, and help us to keep hope in our hearts. Memories serve as a way to keep us connected. Good memories strengthen and sustain us.
Memories are valued and necessary to the health of church “families.” As Christians we gather in memory every time we meet at the Table of our Lord. At the Table we remember our baptism, remember what our Lord has done on our behalf, and are Re-membered into the Body of Christ.
Just as we need memories in our biological families, creating memories by offering opportunities to play together strengthens worshipping communities. Laying a foundation of positive memories proves helpful when storms begin to rock the boat. Healthy congregations laugh often, enjoy being together, and support one another in fun times as well as in the hard times.
All too often congregations become fixed upon the problems facing the church and forget the importance of playing together, leading to dis-ease, or disfunction. Focusing upon problems rather than the Problem-solver, can lead to conflict and unhealthy practices. One way to change the focus from the negative perspective to a positive outlook, is to be intentional in planning opportunities for congregants to interact in fun activities.
Our ability to remember is a precious gift. It is in remembering our blessings that our hearts are filled with gratitude. Without memories we would be unable to savor the good things that happen to us and for us. With no memory we would be unable to heal from painful situations.
Healthy congregations PRAY together, PLAY together, and STAY together.
- Jennie Hemrick