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Between Memory and Imagination

How the past can give you an identity and a hope
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Living in the In-Between". See series.


Last week we learned that Deuteronomy is a book about transition. The people of Israel are standing on the banks of the Jordan River with the Promised Land in sight. They are no longer wandering in the wilderness, but have yet to enter the land flowing with milk and honey. They are forced to live in between; they are in transition. Our invitation last week was to live along side them in between two places. Whether it is the unknown future of our church, grief, or vocational questioning, we are invited to wait in transition. Deuteronomy is an invitation to live in between; however, it is not without guidance. Our passage today gives us an important suggestion for how to live through our in-between times.

Deuteronomy urges us to remember during the in-between.

Deuteronomy is largely a repetitive book; Moses repeats stories and laws from the previous four books in the Torah. While Israel waits on the banks of the Jordan, Moses repeats a previous sermon on the Ten Commandments originally found in Exodus—nothing new here, same old stuff. At least it would appear that way. However, there is something different. Moses makes a subtle adjustment, and it's easy to miss if you aren't looking for it. There is a little verse tucked in near the end of the fourth commandment, which is the commandment to keep the Sabbath. It is a passage that is easy to miss, considering the magnitude of the surrounding material. It sits like a rose planted in a cornfield—towering stalks of corn obscuring it from view. And yet, if our eyes catch this hidden gem, we discover something. We uncover a distinct and dominant theme that runs throughout the book of Deuteronomy. It is a theme that offers us one of the keys to living in between. ...

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Shane Hipps is lead pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church and author of The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church (Zondervan, 2006).

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Sermon Outline:


I. Deuteronomy urges us to remember during the in-between.

II. Remembering gives us identity.

III. Remembering gives us hope.