Today’s Altar

by Holly Ann (artwork provided by Kathrine Tripp)


Often, when Heather and I share our story, we close the service with a time of “remembering.”  We’ll place river rocks in designated spots throughout the room, and invite people to pause and reflect on the difficult times that God has seen them through.  The next step is for each of them to write words on these rocks that identify those times.  Finally, we encourage everyone to take their rock and place it somewhere in a prominent place at their home or work as a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness.


I have a rock that sits on my dresser at home. The words “FAMILY, HEALTH, DREAMS” tattoo my rock as a reminder of key moments in my life that God intervened and turned my circumstances around.  There have even been times  when I catch a glimpse of my rock that I physically have to pause.  Overwhelming peace rushes in as I remember once again how faithful of a God I serve!

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This practice is very similar to what is seen throughout the Old Testament.  Recently, I’ve been camping out in the book of Genesis and have been reminded of the importance of altars.  Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, just to name a few, regularly built altars to worship the LORD.  These altars were extremely significant.  They symbolized communion with the LORD.  They were a place of worship and a place to remember His covenant and promises.

Last week I found myself asking, “What ‘altar’ have I prepared for the LORD lately?”  These moments in Scripture captured the heart of God; they got His attention.  I wanted a visual—SOMETHING—even a physical act that I could perform to thank God for His goodness in my life.  I wrestled with these thoughts all day.  Later that night, after sharing this growing tension inside of me with my hunk-of-a-man, Aaron reminded me that it’s not about the “altars” we prepare, IT’S OUR LIVES.

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice” – 1 Samuel 15:22

Honestly, I REALLY didn’t like this answer.  It seemed too simple.  I wanted something a little more complicated.  But the more I pondered this, I realized that this is the ultimate sacrifice to the LORD and there is NOTHING easy about it! Scripture is actually quite clear.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” – Romans 12:1


The way we honor Him… the way we remember His faithfulness… is with our lives.

Today, we don’t build our altar and then walk away. Our altar moves. It walks. It talks.  We remember His goodness in how we respond to conflict.  We remember His faithfulness when we show compassion to those in need around us.  We remember His grace when we honor our spouse.  We remember His love when we choose to forgive the person who’s devastated us.  We celebrate His death and resurrection when we work at our daily, mundane tasks with a grateful heart.

It is our constant, rising aroma of worship.

I fully know that I will FAIL maintaining this level of “remembrance” in my life, but when I do (and unfortunately that is more often than I’d like) I fall back on His grace and remember once again…

LORD, this LIFE is yours!
And I will remember you with ALL of me.