I came across a review the other day for a new book titled Preaching as Reminding by a professor named Jeffrey Arthurs. Although I’m not sure that the review made it sound compelling enough to find its way onto my “must read” list, it did sound intriguing; and the title itself captured what, for me, is one of the “creative tensions” of being a pastor.
On the one side, I’m thankful that it’s not my job to “invent” truth and wisdom that will guide and encourage my congregation. Instead, my responsibility (as Arthurs apparently puts it) is to be “the Lord’s remembrancer,” stirring the memory of Christ-followers and reminding them of the truths they already know. On the other side, I’m still challenged by the fact that stirring these memories in a way that allows listeners to apply them to their present situation is an ongoing challenge — and one for which I often feel both unworthy and unprepared.
It comes as a bit of a gift, therefore, that today’s New Testament lesson (2 Peter 1:12-21) touches upon this very tension. Peter tells his readers, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.” (verse 12) And then he points them toward the two essential streams that water the garden of our faithful remembering.
The first is our experience of the Lord’s presence and activity in our lives. “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power,” Peter writes, “but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (verse 16) So, how have you been an “eyewitness of his majesty”? What are some of the ways that you’ve seen God’s Spirit at work over the years — and over the last few days?
The second is our encounter with God’s Word. “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable,” Peter says, “and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (verse 19) So, how are you allowing “the prophetic message” (the commands, promises, and stories of scripture) to remind you of the Great Story of which your life is a part and from which each moment of your life derives its purpose and hope?
May our remembering today carry us deeper into the embrace of the One who loves us and gave Himself for us; and may His promises allow us to live with purpose and confidence, even when the turmoil around us tempts us to forget His goodness.