1 Samuel 7:12 – Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." (NIV)
Recently, while driving home from church on a Sunday morning, we were enjoying the beautiful Muskoka countryside, the lush green under-foliage, the rock cliffs, and the stately pines. At one particular point along the route, we noticed that a stone pillar (an Inukshuk) about three feet tall had been erected during the time since we had passed that point a week earlier. It stood there with solemn dignity on the rock shelf. This type of pillar, or memorial, is often seen throughout the rocky terrain in Muskoka. People who visit the area erect pillars as memorials to having been there and having enjoyed the beauty of the countryside. There was something about this particular memorial pillar that drew our attention: it seemed almost majestic.
Today's Scripture came to my mind. Samuel set up a stone memorial between Mizpah and Shen. He gave it the name Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." The people who build these roadside memorials do so to commemorate their visit, and to affirm the beauty, grace, and wonder of God's creation. An Inukshuk is a beacon and a welcome sight. To the traveller in the north it says, "I've been here before; you are on the right path."
As I thought about this simple roadside scene, it dawned on me that there is a powerful lesson in a memorial. Each day in the events of life, we should be raising up and erecting our own personal Ebenezer which declares, "Here is where God met me and helped me." In everyday life, we should become conscious of those things that call out to us to remember the mighty acts of God in our lives. God invites us to see and to hear what is around us, and, through that experience, to discern the footprints of the Holy One.
If we but take the time to examine our relationship with God, we will find many reasons to erect and raise memorials: "Here is where I met God." A memorial teaches us not only that God is present with us, but also that we are in the presence of God, that we tread on holy ground each day.
Prayer: O heavenly Father, Lord of light far beyond the shining of the sun, we thank You for the gift of each day, and for Your presence in the simple things of life. Help us to be continuously conscious of Your presence and guidance in all we think, and feel, and say, and do each day. May we have the wisdom and the understanding to see Your presence and to remember Your mighty acts. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.