I have been traveling down memory lane lately. Memory lane has taken me to my childhood days where, in the field across the street from my home in Antigua, my dad, siblings, and I used to fly kites. I remember the times when we walked with him on the pier in the evening hours while eating ice cream and looking up at the stars. I think of our sitting at the dining table writing letters to my mom, who was already in the U.S. Both of my parents are deceased.
Walking down memory lane takes me to Queens, New York, where my siblings and I would put on plays using our garage as the stage, the neighborhood children as the actors, and their parents as the audience. I remember our playing handball against the wall between houses, and riding on skateboards down the driveway. We are all gone from that neighborhood now.
Memory lane sometimes takes me to the dinner table at home in Massachusetts with my elementary school daughter, sharing her thoughts about what she had read that day, or practicing her vocabulary words while one of us washed the dishes and the other dried them.
Now, with my young adult living away from home, new memories are being created, including our Sunday conversations on the phone! The “Sunday chats,” as I call them, date back to the time when she went away to college. We started the chats as a way of intentionally taking time to communicate with each other. It is a tradition which we decided is worth keeping. I treasure all these precious memories.
These trips down memory lane have stirred up other reflective thoughts. For example, I wonder what memories the neighbors around our homes and churches have of us?
We are constantly leaving impressions that will turn into lasting memories. What impressions are our churches leaving as we worship in these neighborhoods? You may have heard the rhetorical question: “If the church should leave its location, will the neighbors miss us?”
“The first work of Christians is to be united in the family. Then the work is to extend to their neighbors nigh and afar off. Those who have received light are to let the light shine forth in clear rays. Their words, fragrant with the love of Christ, are to be a savor of life unto life”—The Adventist Home, p. 37.
Part of the church’s program should be to minister intentionally to the people whom we hope one day to lead to Jesus Christ. That, of course, will only happen if we develop a relationship with them.
“Take up the work anywhere and everywhere. Do that which is the nearest you, right at your own doors, however humble and uncommended it may seem. Work only for the glory of God and the good of men. Let self sink out of sight, while with earnest purpose and solemn prayers of faith you work for Him who has died that you might live. Go to your neighbors one by one, and come close to them till their hearts are warmed by your unselfish interest and love. Sympathize with them, pray for them, watch for opportunities to do them good, and as you can, gather a few together and open the word of God to their darkened minds. . . . Do not neglect speaking to your neighbors, and doing them all the kindness in your power, that you may ‘by all means save some.’ [1 Corinthians 9:22]”—Gospel Workers, p. 336.
During this holiday season and every season, look for opportunities to make a positive difference in somebody’s life. You could make an indelible impression on someone, which may well result in a life saved for God’s kingdom.
This editorial first appeared in the December 2019 issue of the Atlantic Union Gleaner magazine, page 3.