One of our sister congregations down the road is having a Fish Fry this coming Saturday. The notice for it caught my eye because I like fish fries. I like them now more than ever because guys my age should eat more fish (something about the oil, I think).
My first reaction was, “I’ve got to go support this. It’s going to be really good eating.” Then I saw the reason for the fry, and I have to admit I was a tad embarrassed. The reason listed for the fry was to benefit the “Nigerian Crisis.”
I was embarrassed because I couldn’t remember which crisis belonged to Nigeria. There are one hundred and ninety-five or so countries in this world (depending on who’s doing the counting). They all seem to have their own crisis from time to time, so I have difficulty keeping track of them in my little pea of a brain. Hence, I did my due diligence and looked it up.
To my dismay, the Nigerian Crisis is one which (like many crises) is a heartbreaker. If you’re like me and don’t remember exactly what this is, allow me to refresh your memory. In April of 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped over 270 girls. Most of them were taken from a school built and supported by the Church of the Brethren. Most of us probably remember the placards on Facebook and such that read, “Bring Back Our Girls.” As it turns out, this mass kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg.
I have many excuses for not remembering.
Obviously, this was over two years ago. Most of the girls are still missing, and people like me have (regrettably) forgotten about them. This is much to my shame and mortification. I have many excuses for this, of course. I have to do stuff like mow my lawn and paint my shutters (if this sounds like it’s dripping with sarcasm, it’s because IT IS—and I deserve being the target of it). I could have been praying for them the entire time I was mowing the lawn and painting my shutters. These things are not rocket science, and I can multitask (despite the fact that I’m a man).
As a Christian, I believe in the power of prayer. Like so many others (I assume), the hours I spend at it are precious and few. I try to be faithful in prayer, but my memory for these things is about as long as a New York minute. Without a reminder, two years is an eternity.
“This Saturday, I’m going to eat fish.”
This, of course, is a great argument for keeping a prayer journal—something I’ve tried more than once over the years but have miserably failed at accomplishing. So, I’ve just written myself a sticky note. I’m going to try again. At my age, I should be a little more motivated and disciplined to actually be successful at it.
This Saturday I’m going to eat fish. Maybe the oil will anoint my memory of the girls I should be lifting in prayer.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]