One of the by-products of visiting many Romanesque and Gothic churches is discovering reliquaries. Reliquaries, like the one above, are objects constructed to hold sacred objects, often body-parts of saints and martyrs. While evangelicals have made fun of reliquaries and the veneration of relics for a long, long time ("If all the supposed pieces of the cross were gathered together they would make a good sized barn!").
Relics and reliquaries do have a function evangelics could benefit from; they help believers remember. My memory is way to short and too immediate. I remembers trivialities; slights, honors, commitments, deadlines, and good deeds done to me. My memory extends somewhat into my immediate family, recalling stories my parents told about "good guys" and "bad guys" to our family. And I carry some distant memories from my grandparents (or about my grandparents).
But reliquaries are in your face. There it is: a bone from a saint, a shard from the cross, a scrap of fabric from a martyr's cloak. These were the faithful ones who paid higher costs than I am paying to keep the faith. These are the ones who define the big issues beyond the petty and the personal. These are the ones who now cheer our leg of the race from the stands of heaven.
As we get ready this week for the star-up of many church programs, remember farther, deeper, and better. Go get a reliquary!