All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Every streetlamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters
And the streetlamp gutters
And soon it will be morning

I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn’t give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Memories are interesting – sometimes they force themselves upon us – some times they’re good, some times bad. However, we can also choose to remember. In our lives (for all of us) we have a plethora of experiences to choose from: For the present and the future, what are the experiences that we want to take on and develop, leaving the others behind ?

We can dwell on some injustice of the past or choose a time when someone pleasantly surprised us. We can remember special people and what they meant for us – and thereby what they still mean for us, or we can pretend that someone never existed. Memories are a gift from God which we so often take for granted and neglect. Whatever it is we want to do, we can find a memory for a starting point – even if it’s 10, 20, 40 or even more years ago – some of our oldest memories may be our most useful and valuable ones.

When I’m finding things tough, I like to remember times when I felt God close to me – it helps my faith and also helps me recognise God’s presence with me today. Jesus never said life was going to be easy – what he said was that I’ll never leave nor forsake you!

If we draw near to God, He’ll draw near to us. If I find it difficult to pray, I remember times when God was near – when I felt His loving touch. It may be many years ago, perhaps even when I was a child, or perhaps sometime around the time of my call to the Ministry, or perhaps just a few weeks or months ago.

Interestingly, many of the times when I’ve known God to be close have been times that were difficult. One way of looking at the adversities of life is to see them as being like an extension paper of an exam. It’s actually a compliment for us to be asked the harder questions of life and what then is most important is not why have we been asked the question, but how we respond to the question – whatever our circumstance, we can choose to love or to hate, to care or ignore. The only way faith grows, the only way we know we love (or that we don’t!) is by being tested or by “having a work-out”.

When everything’s fine, it’s easy to be kind, loving and considerate (although even here we’re often not), but when we’ve got troubles, when everything’s going wrong, when we’re under pressure – that’s the time our Christian Faith has the opportunity to shine. It’s when the herbs or seeds of our life, our heart get crushed that the fragrance is released.

Many times we fluff it, but God still loves us and Jesus is still there with us – whether we realise it or not. And of course at Easter we remember the crushing of Jesus Christ – and that He didn’t fluff it.

There are many ways we can try and comprehend the marvel and mystery of the Cross. One way is to think of it like an insurance policy. The suffering we experience in the world is just the excess on the policy – Christ bears the real cost of our sin. If we’re honest we know that many times we don’t suffer the consequences which should or could flow from our actions. And then if we could look back from the end of time at the total amount of suffering of the world, we would then see that the more we suffer, the less other people suffer. And if we’re thinking about whether we could have reduced that total amount of suffering some-how – the answer is a definite Yes! – by not passing it on! ie, by letting our suffering stop with us, by absorbing it (and maybe even thanking God for it!)

This Easter let us remember the suffering of Christ, the amazing love of Christ to absorb the consequences of our sin – and also let us remember the closeness of God to us in Christ crucified and risen! Let us reflect and dwell on this – and then let us also remember times in the past when He has been faithful to us personally (or perhaps to someone we know and love) and then bearing-in mind what God has already done and is doing for eternity, let’s look with expectation for what God will do in the coming months of 2010! And whatever this may be, let us remember that whatever happens we know that our Lord both loves us and is with us – Christ Jesus! – both in this life, and …

When the dawn of the next life comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Happy Easter and good remembering!