Being Followed…

This morning I am sitting in Panera working on the sermon schedule for the next 6 months. Of course I need to get my dates right, so I looked up this year’s Advent schedule online. (One might think a working Christian calendar would have been implanted when God called me into the ministry, but I am as startled as you to realize Christmas is on a Sunday this year! – Really the lack of super powers that come with a calling is surprising, its like we are not supposed to rely on our own power.)

Normally I mentally block out the web ads, but the right bar caught my eye because the ad itself was personal. The silly green leaves from was an image I had viewed last week!

We are close to unveiling a new website for Chandler. This is exciting but it also has me considering a new image for Chandler – one direction was to connect to nature. Pulling from scriptures images – “I am the vine” (John 15:5), Tree of life images from Ezekiel 47 (“Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail…”), and many others. So I went to istock to get some ideas…

Then today, here I sit and up popped a reminder of where I had been. I refreshed and checked dates for 2012. I noticed more ads that connected. One for church websites, another for Christian education, another for devotionals, another for St. Louis Bread – the very place I was sitting (Granted, the web is not smart enough to know KC disdains the red heathens to our east and committed the “cardinal” sin of advertising for St Louis Bread rather than Panera!)…

I suppose this could be twisted into a good thing. I am not forgotten. The web remembers me, remembers where I have been… but like the world – Google hopes to use this knowledge to exploit me. To line its own pockets.

And God also knows where I have been. But his memory is not like the web. He is not out to exploit. He does NOT exist as Santa, ready to bring coal. Certainly we need to watch for God, but not “watch out”. He is NOT “making a list, checking it twice”.

Advent was the coming of something new. Christmas really does begin on Sunday. Christ is risen. And this has changed everything. Our sin is no longer brought to the forefront. In the power of the cross we are made new.

Does God Forget??? ~ Often people note that God forgets our sins. And scripture mentions that God “will remember their sins no more.” The references can be found in Jeremiah 31:34 and Isaiah 43:25 – the Jeremiah verse is quoted twice by Hebrews (8:12, 10:17).

But, pondering my own life, it would be rather holy… by that I mean hole filled! Whole days could be blank – forgotten. And turning to the rest of the world, if God forgets sin, the story of our world would not make sense.

Also, the idea that forgiveness would require forgetting seems, well, a little human. I need to forget sin, because honestly, my forgiveness is a little shallow. Of course small things can be brought back up again and again – I do not care. But there are a few things, that when recollected, still make me cringe. If I dwell on those memories I could still get angry.

But I think God’s forgiveness is bigger. He can look at our worst moments – replay them – and still love us. Still reach for us. Still die for us.

Actually, I think when God sees sin, He sees opportunity. Like a wise investor spends when the market falls – knowing there will be huge gains. God, gives when we are our worst, forgives when we deserve destruction.

Of course scripture is true – God does not remember the event as it happened. When He looks back He sees Christ.

And in Him our worst events are impossibly also our best. Because then Christ’s grace is fully realized.

Praise be to God!

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