05 September 2010

No, Not the Scrooge Kind

When you hear the word "ebenezer" what comes to mind? Ebenezer Scrooge? The famous Charles Dickens' character from A Christmas Carol is the only reference most people would have for that funny word. A character who is remembered more for his miserly ways than his turn of countenance at the end of the story. Those who have been part of a church that sings hymns may remember another use of the word, a line from the song, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,"

Here I raise my ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;

The word actually shows up in1 Samuel 7:12, the Israelites defeat the Philistines, after Samuel has offered a sacrifice. Samuel puts up a stone in memorial and names it Eben-Ezer - a 'stone of help.' The name Eben-Ezer also means "God has led us thus far" or "Thus far God has helped us."

Genesis 31:52 and 35:14-15 are a couple other examples of building pillars, stacking stones - Ebenezers - as memorials to important events. There is a verse somewhere, I can't find the exact reference (if you know it, tell me where to find it please), that talks about building stone monuments as remembrances of what God has done, a testament to future generations; 'when your children ask why this pillar is here, tell them of the great works of God.' It sounds like Exodus.

Anyhow, I latched on to this idea of "stones of remembrance," collecting my own personal ebenzers several years ago. I pick up stones at the places I travel to whether it be the Oregon coast or the Israeli desert to Picacho Park in Tegucigalpa. Sometimes, if I happen to find an interesting one on a walk around the neighborhood I'll pick it up too. So what do I do with these rocks? I use a Sharpie (you know I always have at least one with me) and write a word or two or a verse to remind me of a time where God's faithfulness, intervention in my life was more palpable. I keep them in a pitcher on my kitchen windowsill so that when I need encouragment, when I need to refocus, when I need a reminder of who is really in charge, I can reach in and grab a stone and remember what God has done in my life in the past and know that He is faithful, He will continue to work in my life.

For almost a year now I have been looking for a specific stone; a heart shaped stone. I have known what I would write on this stone, but have not been successful in finding the stone itself. I started my summer at Cannon Beach and had spent quite some time searching for the elusive heart stone. I even found one that sorta looked heart shaped but I accidentally dropped it in a drive way made out of gravel and it was lost. Labor day holiday weekend found me at Cannon Beach again, it is one of my favorite places after all. This most recent trip I had success. I actually found two. The only issue is that they are not palm size, more like fist size, the fist of Andre the Giant - they won't fit in the pitcher, so they are now sitting in my front yard. But now I have two - do I use only one? Or do I come up with a second word? The word that has been mulling around in my head waiting for a stone is... (drum roll) MICAH! Not surprising, is it?

So help me out peeps - which rock is more heart shaped? Which one should have Micah scrawled on it? what should happen to the other rock? Any suggestions for another word?

What would be written on your ebenezers?


linda in washougal said...

I collect heart rocks (I have 3, given to me be 3 special kids, and they are outside among my favorite pots/plants) :)

I love the idea of writing a word or so. I have a stone that I wrote "He's the same" on once. As in, He's always been loving and faithful, He's the same loving and faithful God NO MATTER my circumstances.

I say keep both stones. :)

Streger said...

I saw those stones today and then forgot to ask you about them. They are perfect, but BIG! I think the reference to monuments is in Joshua. They built one when they crossed the Jordan River. How about on one of them writing HE IS ABLE!!! I will look for the reference but I think it is in Colossians. Reminds me of His incomparable wisdom and b/c nothing is impossible for Him.