On a recent road trip, Derek and I passed through the junction of state highways 46 and 41, which is east of Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County. This particular junction is just like so many others in the state except for one thing: a sign marking the spot as the “James Dean Memorial Junction.” It turns out to be the very spot where the 24 year old actor lost his life in a car accident on September 30, 1955. A memorial is something designed to honor the memory of a person or event. It could be a statue, a monument, or a special day. They can bring memories of happy or sad events. In this case, it is a solitary road sign on desolate stretch of highway, commemorating the tragic death of a young man.
Speaking of memorials brings to mind another one in another place and another time. Jesus had come to Jerusalem for what would be the final time in his earthly ministry. While he was visiting in the home of Simon the leper, an unnamed woman enters and anoints his head with some very expensive perfume. The disciples of Jesus react indignantly, accusing the woman of being wasteful. But Jesus, who was always quick to defend those that others abused, praised her for her extravagant gift. “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to me. For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have me. For when she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her” (Matthew 26:10-13).
As our lives intersect with the world around us, how will you and I be remembered? What will be spoken of in memory of us as people reflect on our words and actions? We have an opportunity to write our “memorial sign.” What will it say?
God loves you!