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How not to be forgotten

The life of mortals is like grass, 

they flourish like a flower of the field; 

the wind blows over it and it is gone,

and its place remembers it no more. 

But from everlasting to everlasting 

the LORD’S love is with those who fear him,

and his righteousness with their children’s children — 

with those who keep his covenant 

and remember to obey his precepts.

Psalm 103:15-18, NIV

Do you know the names of your great-grandparents? It should not be difficult. There are only eight of them. These are the people your own grandparents called Mum and Dad.

Yet I have to admit that, until I did a bit of ferreting around in the Christmas holidays, I didn’t know all of mine. How amazing that such fundamental knowledge about my family’s history should be so quickly forgotten! I am rather ashamed to admit it.

But I know I am not alone. In this Psalm, King David compares mortals to grass, or flowers in the summer heat. It flourishes, then wilts; it is soon gone.  And its place remembers it no more.

Of course, there are some great people who are remembered. But for each of those there are millions who are really forgotten. It is one of mortality’s price tags.

It goes against a basic human longing: to be remembered. We try to secure our place, our significance, in all sorts of ways. In the old days, if you were rich, you could do this by having a portrait painted — but the tourists still have to look in the guide book to see who this person was (if they bother to look at all)! Or maybe we seek significance by acquiring a fine reputation — but the people who know us will die, too!

The Psalm has an answer. Those who belong to the God of the Bible, are not forgotten by Him. But from everlasting to everlasting, The LORD’s love is with those who fear him. Those who have trusted Him, and are in covenant friendship with Him, enjoy His everlasting love. He sees us, He knows us, He gives significance to every detail of our lives. And is there not a hint here, also — even a thousand years before Christ — of an everlasting relationship, the hope of eternal life?

Today, are we putting our hope for personal significance in what is essentially transitory, or have we discovered real significance in friendship with Christ?

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