Serbia - Final
As we were closing our time in Serbia, Zsolti, the pastor who helped to organize much of our tour there, asked me something in Hungarian, and handed me a book. With the Hungarian letters decorating the front of it, and Hungarian and Cyrillic written inside it, there was no way I could have made out what it actually was!
Turns out it was a guestbook, and he wanted us to sign it. No worries, me and the band began to fill in a few pages, giving our thanks, blessings, greetings, hopes for them, and then signing it with a scripture verse underneath. It was cool to be able to leave something tangible behind…
And then it hit me - we just piled up some stones in the middle of the Jordan.
Memorials are cool things. Firstly, they remind us that "We made it here". I wrote a small inscription on top of Mt. Shasta in Northern California when I was a teenager, the only one of a party of 3 to actually make it. The other two were my dad, and my High School friend and drummer, Dan Wilson. Both have since passed away prematurely. But as humans, there is a sense of accomplishment when we have arrived at a critical destination, especially having travelled so far, or worked so hard to get there. Certainly our tour in Serbia would fit that definition!
Secondly, memorials remind us that "We have left something behind". Sure, this can be self-aggrandizing, or gratuitous man-pleasing, but it can also be a legitimate thing - to leave a piece of yourself in a place where you have made great investment, or sacrifice. It was an honor to write in that book for Pastor Zsolti in Serbia, who is obviously making greater sacrifices than we, and yet he extended to us the grace to write in his book - a tool that marks his journey, his progress of life as he lives out on God's altar there in Serbia.
But thirdly, and to me so much more importantly, is that memorials mark that "God has done something here". And in that, with our tour in Serbia, there was no doubt. God so worked miracles there, from supplying a sound-system from literally "nothing" for that first venue when our Sound Equipment didn't make it over the border from Hungary, to the "Great Cloud of Witnesses" (See previous Blog-post) who cheered us on as we played for what we thought was only an audience of seven. But nothing compares to the joy in heaven, and the joy in our hearts, that people committed their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior in that short time we were there, and that lasts forever.
There's another "Guest-book" in heaven. It's called the "Lamb's book of Life". Only we don't sign it. Jesus does. And he uses a crimson signature. And isn't this, in so many ways, what it's all about on this side of eternity - extending an opportunity for Jesus to autograph lives?