Psalm 78:4- We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
While giving thanks this past week, my family gathered in my hometown of Enterprise, AL to pack up my family home. After 33 years, and more memories than I can count, my childhood home is getting ready to be sold to another family. It was harder than I thought. I remember watching my parent’s custom-built dream home built from the digging of the earth to the final touches. Just about every day my mom would ride us over to the “new house” to see the progress. It was very exciting for me as a second grader because not only were we going to have a new home, but we were building next door to some of my parent’s best friends. We would have instant neighborhood friends.
When my mom died in 2013, we all knew that one day the home would have to be sold. Mentally it was inevitable, but emotionally I kept avoiding the subject in favor of trying to be strong. I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of resentment that our family home would no longer be the place that my own children would go to year after year throughout their lives as I did to both of my grandparents’ homes. Sure, my children are old enough to remember being there, but it was a little sad, nonetheless. It’s already hard enough that they didn’t really get to know my mom well enough.
My mom was truly the most organized person I’ve ever known. Thankfully, she was mostly specific about who got what “stuff” in the house from children to grandchildren. It made for an easy time to divvying up the furniture, artwork, dishes, and knickknacks around the house. Every.single.piece tells a story and we rehearsed those stories all week. It was emotionally exhausting, but cathartic, nonetheless. While the house itself will become void of our personal touch, the pieces within are being spread out among the other five of my nuclear family members. History will live on in each of our own homes…stories will be rehearsed time and time again of the wonderful memories of living at 106 E. Sandcreek from generation to generation.
I couldn’t help but think about how important history is to the local church. Without history, we simply cannot understand the journey that has led a particular body of believers to their current place. I know older adults who are passionate about the church growing and moving forward, but it’s hard for them to let go of certain memories…perhaps even pieces of furniture or mementos that signify something that is deeply important to them. These older adults probably realize that they cannot re-create the past, or dwell in it, but it’s important to them nonetheless. Some things probably seem trivial to younger generations. Don’t worry, older adults feel the same way about some of the “new” things younger adults are passionate about as well.
My family home will likely get a makeover cosmetically, and that’s okay. It probably needs it. The memories we made there will never fade, however. Likewise, we, as the church, must be sensitive to the felt needs of each generation because sometimes changes need to be made. Every generation seems to have (or create) their own “sacred cows.” What is most important is that the gospel not change. Sure, processes and ministries should change as time goes on, but never the life-changing truth of the Word.