One Thing – Remembering 2012

Guinness-Pint

For a timeless evening, we feasted on the finest fare: the greatest delicacies of the work of God made manifest in each other’s lives.

In December I fought for some time to pause and remember 2012 with the Father, asking Him to help me remember the ways He had invested in my masculine journey over the year.  In a way of repentance from a world super-saturated with content, ideas and whatever is next, I responded to this question: “What’s my One Thing” from 2012 that most deeply shaped my masculine journey? I realized that of all that the Father revealed to me in 2012, no revelation has shaped me more than Unity Trumps Disunity.

I sat in the memories of how God brought that revelation to me, what it felt like to both ingest and digest it and what fruit it has already born in my marriage and even more in my intimacy with God. Joy and gratitude flooded my heart again; I was so grateful that Father had led me to pause and remember, to relish and relive. I felt the truth of His desire for union with me drop one level deeper into my heart.

The urging to remember is offered more than 160 times in scripture.  It must be why my office is littered with wildly unique rocks, antlers, pictures – all treasures that somehow help me to hold onto memories that would otherwise be carried away on the winds.

Oswald Chambers draws the connection between the act of remembering and our affection for God:

Don’t say to yourself, ‘But God is not talking to me right now.’ He ought to be. Remember whose you are and whom you serve. Encourage yourself to remember, and your affection for God will increase tenfold. Your mind will no longer be starved, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright.

Yet, we are so prone to move on to the next thing and miss the opportunity to marinate in the miracle of God’s work that is in the recent past, still close at hand.  How much nourishment have I missed in years past through want of remembering…?

As I reflected on this radiant One Thing that Father had given me in 2012, it hit me: “Boy, I would love to know the One Thing from other men.  I’d love to feast at their tables and be nourished by what God did in their lives over the past year.”  Father reminded me that to remember is one of the holy and essential acts of our faith; yet to remember on behalf of others is even more heroic.  I wanted to pause and remember with and for other men.

The Father offered me a handful of names of peers He intended for this occasion of communal, masculine remembering. Last night we circled up and shared redemptive stories over some pints.  Each man took a block of time to share their One Thing.  We savored the deep and wonderful truths and encounters and reveled in the sheer Goodness of the Father.  Hope restored something in each of us deeper than words; water again flowed in the wadis deep within.  Conversation meandered, back and forth leading to deep questions, observations and words of affirmation from the Father… it all turned into prayer and then… simply silence and awe at the beauty and strength of the Trinity at work in our midst.

In the words of one of the men, “conditionally” not much is different in our lives this morning from our days leading up to last night; circumstances, for better and for worse, remain the same.  But “positionally,” much has shifted.  This “communal remembering” brought us closer to the Father. Nourished us.  Strengthened us.  Revived us. Renewed our sense of the Father’s love, the Father’s affection, and the Father’s pursuit.  We awoke this morning to find ourselves experientially closer to our Father and His generous and exotic love than we were yesterday.

What’s your One Thing for 2012?

“Father, what is the One most formative Thing that you gave me this past year?”

Ask God if He would have you gather a few men to reflect on the year past before this month slips away and 2013 is full steam upon us.

Fate has chosen you.

Evil will hunt you.

A fellowship will protect you.

-J.R.R. Tolkien

Cultivate your fellowship. Pause, remember and be nourished by His work in the lives of other men. Find comfort and protection in each other’s stories. Receive hope and vision for the year to come.

Father, we open ourselves again to your Ways. We open ourselves to your Love. We receive your Fathering afresh. Come, kind, good, strong, Father, lead us deeper into your Love this year.  And if you would have me gather some men and pause and remember together, I make myself available to you for that…