Inspire, Summer 1996

A News Publication for Cedarville College Alumni VAlimsaimak Memorial Stones T raditions are practiced memories.In the same way that homecoming traditions rehearse the history ofthe college experience,all traditions are rooted in a double reality—the reality ofthe significant event and the reality ofthe present experience. Joshua knew this to be true. When,in Joshua 4:1-24,the people had crossed the Jordan,Joshua commanded two memorial stone altars to be built.The first was the altar ofthe significant event. Joshua commanded 12 men to build an altar in the midst ofthe Jordan,at the place where the priests stood after carrying the Ark ofthe Covenant into the Jordan River.The miracle at the Jordan River was a significant event in the lives ofthe people ofGod.It opened the door to the promised land,and it closed all avenues of retreat. It was a one-time event which radically changed their lives forever.The tradition ofthe stone altar was to commemorate the history ofthis past event. As the river returned to its proper place,the altar disappeared from view,but the memories remained intact. In the uniqueness ofthe college experience,fond memories are produced which are indelibly imprinted upon the mind.Friendships which last the test of time,camaraderie with a special professor or staff member,courses taken and truth learned,life decisions made,and careers begun are all a part ofcollege life. These memories are precious and lasting evidences ofthe working ofGod in special ways.The places, people,and times all implant memories and change forever the character and direction ofour lives. As these memories are covered with the waters oftime and dull with the years, changed lives remain to tell ofthe mighty work ofGod in history. The second altar Joshua built was the altar of present experience.Twelve men were commanded to return to the center ofthe river and carry 12 stones on their shoulders to set down at the lodging place. That night Israel camped in Gilgal, and the 12 stones were placed in the center ofthe camp.Joshua commanded the people to tell their sons and daughters of the wonderful work ofGod on opening the Jordan River every time they were asked a reason for the stone altar. Significant historical events such as these, which occur at only one time and place in our lives,leave permanent impressions for the years to follow. Transformed lives, understanding of the greatness of our God,skills, knowledge,and memories all change us in significant ways.Because ofthe college experience, we shall never be the same again.In this way Cedarville will never leave our present experience,and our lives become the stone altar where we live. Cedarville College will always be with us—on our minds,hearts,and lives—as we carry about in our present experience the impressions ofthe past event. These two memorials,the past event and the present experience, make up the traditions ofour college days. They are a permanent mark of the work of God in our lives,intended to demonstrate the mighty hand ofGod. They relate the greatness ofGod and serve as reminders that we should fear the Lord our God and serve Him forever. This permanent mark ofthe work ofGod in our lives is truly the history of Cedarville College. Dr Richard Blumenstock '63 is associate professor ofbiblical education at Cedarville College. He also serves on the Alumni Council. He and his wife, Helen, have three children, 1996graduate Jim, Rick(26),and Janet(31).