“Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” – 1 Samuel 7:12, NRSV
Sometimes I wonder what it was like in the ancient world to walk past the markers those who had gone before us in faith had set up. Was Samuel’s Ebenezer a tourist attraction on the Mizpah-Jeshanah border? Would I have detoured into Bethlehem to see the pillar outside Rachel’s tomb (Genesis 35)? Did people go in search of the altars of Abraham and Moses? Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures we read of people taking a moment to build a marker to pay homage to times and places where God had been active in their lives in powerful ways.
Yesterday we did a 21st century version of it. We spent a portion of our worship services recognizing our high school graduates, awarding Bibles to our third graders, and celebrating confirmation. After worship we held a “Celebrate our Volunteers” luncheon. Then in the evening we had a special dinner and ceremony for the graduating seniors who had been active in our high school youth ministry. It was a busy day, but a great day of recognizing where God has been at work in our midst.
In all of our busyness it is easy to miss God’s work in our lives and ministry. As the year draws to a close, it is good for us to reflect on where God has been at work these past 12 months and to raise our Ebenezer!