Toone Tennessee—My home Town

This in March, we went home for a visit. We went to our home church (March 17) which is the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing. I wanted to go to try to shake my memory. I was sick when my mother died, and I can’t remember anything. I can’t remember the wake, the funeral, the burial, or the meal that day at church. I vaguely remember two faces. I remember going to the doctor. My illness was caused by my diabetic medication, and I cannot remember.

It’s very frustrating not remembering, especially something as precious as my mother’s funeral. Memory is the glue that holds our life together as we pass through time and space. That important part of my life is missing.

But I did see ghosts. The ghosts were not the disembodied kind but memories. I saw all kinds of people who had been important in my life. My dad and I were the first to be baptized in the new building by our old white-haired pastor. His memory had an impact on me through my years of ministry. I remembered my father’s funeral and, in my mind, saw the casket and pastor who preached the funeral message.

I saw the deacons who took up the offering. Then one day, when I was about 12, they asked me and Mike Higgs to take up the offering. They all invested in us boys helping to grow up in the things of God.

I was reminded of the women who taught Vacation Bible School as they shared the simple Gospel. Some of the women taught Sunday School. But who I remember the most are the men who taught in Sunday School, taught us the basic knowledge of our faith moving us on from boyhood to manhood. These seem like unimportant acts to some, but they shaped my life, teaching us boys to love God and church and each other.

I’m an old man now. Almost all of them are gone. Having prepared the way for the next generation, they have gone home into the presence of Christ. They left an impression on all of us.

Looking back on my home church experience, Barbara and I courted were married there. I preached my first sermon, all 5 minutes of it. And now grown, we still live in the influence our home church. Those memories hold our hearts and minds together, our very being, and reminds us of who we are.

However, there is a lot of my life I cannot remember. I’ve tried but those memories allude me. It is possible that I will lose more memory as I age. It’s a lonely thought. It is sad to watch people with dementia lose their memories and becoming lost in the darkness of their mind. But for the believer, personhood is not diminished by the lose of memory.

“But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”

 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?

Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. . ., Isaiah 49:14-16 ESV

God does not forget us. His memory sustains us and brings us home.

Randy Davis

I am a retired pastor trained in systematic theology. I have a broad interest in biblical studies, history and culture.

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