Book of Remembrance

FB_IMG_1433118497977Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.’ – Malachi 3:16-18

With the growth of technology, we are blessed to be a part of the “Selfie” Generation. Everything is captured or can be captured by either phone camera or video and most often we are photographing ourselves. Lest we think that such practices are new, look no further than the old family photo album. When we take these out of the closet and dust them off, we realize that all of our relatives did the same thing only with their level of technology.

Most of us, when we capture a memory, we do so for reasons that we thought we wanted to celebrate or remember as sentimental. Basically the photos have a personal value and the market for allowing us to be self-centered is wide open. Now we can “GoPro”, “Lily” and Drone. The possibilities are endless.

FB_IMG_1433118508491In 2003, I experienced one such memory I wanted to capture and capture in a ministerial way. Having recently moved from the Enlisted ranks to the Officer ranks, I was anxious to make a good impression. In my denomination and as a person making moves to become a Chaplain, one requirement we had was we needed a letter of endorsement or character reference from a currently serving senior Chaplain with the rank of LTC or higher. I knew I was headed to Fort Jackson for Chaplain Officer Basic, so I resolved to wait until I arrived there to seek a senior Chaplain to ask a Memorandum For Record from.

When I entered Chaplain (COL) Bradford’s office, I was a little apprehensive. On the one hand this guy could make life hard for me to move forward with my goal to become a Chaplain. On the other hand he could be a blessing in ways I did not even know about. My endorser told me that sometimes senior Chaplains in this position when asked for a memorandum, want you to be prepared to either share a sermon or bible Study with them so they can determine your effectiveness to deliver the WORD to Soldiers. So, I came prepared to preach a sermon.

The sermon was entitled, “God’s Photo Album” and it was sourced by Malachi 3:16-18.

In God’s photo album, the pictures look a good bit different but the same. The moments captured are those that represent people getting together to talk about God. Not only does His photo album or GoPro capture people who fear the Lord gathering to talk about Him and learn of Him but it is a distinguishing characteristic of the difference between those who serve God and those who do not.

FB_IMG_1433118503771Like you, I have photos of Birthdays, Holidays, cute moments, times of smiling and fun, times of reunion and tears of joy, scenery or sunsets and starlit nights, animals that I think are cool and friends and family doing weird stuff that you just can’t make up. What I have very little of, are pictures like the ones described in the verses shared. I wonder what it would look like for me to modify my picture taking for let’s say a week. What would it look like if I tried to capture moments like those mentioned where I only take pictures or video of the times when those who fear God gather to speak with one another about Him? Certainly, it would not look like some T.V. evangelist’s or mega church’s version of worshiping the worship process. Would it? Or, would it look like Matthew 25, where it would be pictures of me and my family and friends and church giving water to the thirsty, clothing the poor, feeding the hungry and visiting those imprisoned for the cause of Christ? Or, maybe it would look like a prayer gathering where everyone is praying and when you pause for a moment to listen it sounds like speaking in tongues to God? Or, perhaps it would be visiting with a person a on their death bed or during a time of loss and pain? The possibilities are endless.

The way it appears right now is we are all about self-worship if we look at the totality of our photos and videos but God wants it to be about worshipping Him. He wants us to capture the moments when He is exalted and He wants us to share those with others. To do so is to share in His testimony and it separates us from those who do not believe in Him. This is not to say that it is wrong or evil to capture meaningful moments in our lives. It is to say, that if you look at the list of titles which your photos and videos represent, would they be God centered or self-centered?

FB_IMG_1433118518709What I am advocating for is a change in how we see memorable moments. As Christians, this would be a great time in the history of technology to capture the things God is up to and make things more about Him than us. This is one way we can demonstrate our “esteem” for the Lord. I for one will be taking up this photo and video one week challenge. So, if you see a different line of photo genre on my FB you know why. How about you? Will you accept the challenge?

We say we glorify the Lord in our everyday life. Let’s show it by making images of God gatherings and memories go viral!

After sharing my sermon with CH Bradford and his staff, he was more than gracious with his review of how I did. Needless to say, the memorandum was accepted. I found out later, the CH Bradford modified what I presented to him and used it as his primary message in his preparation for retirement. It was flattering and impressive to see how far the sermon spread. Next thing I knew I started hearing Soldiers and Senior leaders making reference to God’s Memory Book. All of that from a 15 minute sermon in an office on Fort Jackson to a group of 7 people. Now imagine if everyone reading this took up the challenge.

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.