America has a remarkable history (even though we are quite “young” by historical standards), and a bright future (though we may debate the shades of that brilliance – the potential is certainly there!) So how does the story of our great country get communicated from one generation to the next?
When our founding fathers conceived this nation, they had no capital city and no universal holidays to celebrate. Think about it. There was a group of people who had to decide which days we would revere and which events (and people) we would celebrate.
At the founding of Washington DC as our nation’s capital, a French architect, Pierre L’Enfant, designed a “national mall” in the center of our capital. Later editions of the U.S. Congress came to recognize this public land as a “national trophy case” of sorts, where the most significant people and events could be commemorated. Over the years monuments have been erected for Presidents (like Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and FDR), defining wars (WWII, Vietnam, Korea), and other prominent leaders.
Additionally, in 1870 the first four national holidays were established by the Federal government: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day, and New Year’s Day.
A stroll down the National Mall or National calendar tells a story of our history and what we value most.
In the summer of 2022 my family went to Washington DC and saw these monuments for ourselves. They were very helpful to remind me and create conversations with my son about the history of our country.
I was thinking about this today as I read Joshua 4:19-24. In this chapter, the Hebrew people had just moved into the promised land. A new nation had begun. How would they remember their history … and what/who needed to be celebrated? Rather than allowing the nation to “wander in the wilderness” on this issue, God revealed to them one important thing for them to remember … and a set of stones are erected in these verses as a conversation piece for future generations.
What are you passing along to the next generation, and how are you sharing and remembering these truths? What are the “monuments” you have erected in your life as conversation pieces with your children and friends about what matters most? What we celebrate and commemorate will leave an important imprint on the next generation. Will we pass along only hot dogs and fairy tales about the North Pole … or will we share reminders about Almighty God who reigns on high?
At Wildwood we talk a lot about being “For the Next Generation” following Jesus together with us to the glory of God. This is one of our key strategic emphases. This Sunday, on Promotion Sunday at Wildwood, we will look at the importance of sharing the story of God’s faithfulness with the next generation through what we remember and celebrate … and Joshua 4 will be our guide! Hope to see you Sunday at Wildwood in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services. See you there, and bring friends!