Sermon Text for 9 June 2019
Therefore I intend to keep on reminding you of these things, though you know them already and are established in the truth that has come to you. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory,since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. 2 Peter 1:12-15 “The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts… We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. And why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need—not all the time, surely, but from time to time—to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember—the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived.” 1 Frederick Buechner, “A Room Called Remember” The author of our reading, Peter, is running out of time. He does not know how long he has, so he does what so many of us do when we know our time is almost up, he begins to reflect. He enters his own room named Remember and what is present within is so important that he feels the need to remind others of what has been transformative in his life and to recall these things for others so that they too can be shaped by these ideals. As Buechner tells us, in our room named Remember the past is alive as if it were the present, reminding us of the lives we have lived and who we have lived them with. This room speaks directly to our heart, touching something deep within us that cannot always be explained or understood but we know it when we feel it. It is something so deep and meaningful that it compels us to witness to its truth. And that is what Peter does through his letter. This need, to witness and testify to what has occurred, arises in each of our lives, and it is what we have been doing here these past few days. We who have gathered here this weekend witness to the power of this place and the effect it has had upon our lives by coming back to Mercersburg Academy. We reconnect with old friends, visit the spaces we were once so familiar with, and tell stories in a manner that show just how alive the past is in our room called Remember. We all know how important this place is within our lives, but as Peter tells us it is still necessary to remember this and to testify to its impact; because from time to time the busyness of life is so overwhelming that we forget these things and their role in forming us. We forget the sound of the carillon and the way the 1 Frederick Buechner, “A Room Called Remember” in Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons (New York: HarperCollins, 2006), 60. sunlight kisses the tops of the mountains. We need to be reminded of the joy that is present when old friends laugh with one another so that we can go back to our homes and testify to the power of this experience to all we encounter. As our time on the hill concludes this reunion weekend, we complete a final testimony— we remember those who have gone before us into eternity. We witness to the power of their role in our life and affirm their presence within our memories. We grieve their loss, wishing they could join us for just one more song or story on the quad, but we also live in gratitude. We are grateful for the influence they had on our life and we are grateful that their influence continues to affect us, for we know where to find these people and their stories. We only need to walk back to our room called Remember, where the past lives on like the present and we can be reminded of those who have gone before us. We cannot live in that room forever, but must go back, from time to time, and recall the lives that we have lived and those whom we have lived them with, so that we can witness to their importance in shaping who we are and who we are becoming. Amen.