There is a house in Waxahachie, Texas that has been remodeled to be an exact replica of the house from the TV show The Munsters. The house is complete with a grand staircase that opens up, a rotating suit of armor, trap doors, and every other detail that made the Munster house unique.
It’s not a museum or anything; a family lives there.
So why did this family—the McKees—remodel their house to perfectly resemble a set from an old TV show?
Because they love The Munsters.
They spent what must have been a lot of money and a lot of time in order to make their home look exactly like the set from a TV show that they love.
This seems ridiculous—insane, even.
But there is something beautifully human about this. What do we do when we love something or have something in our pasts that left a special mark on our hearts? We memorialize it—we create a way to remember something that we never want to forget.
We erect a statue. We hang pictures on the wall. Sometimes (very rarely) we even remodel our homes to look like the set of an old TV show.
The need to memorialize is a very human impulse.
In the book of Genesis, we meet a man named Jacob. During a very low point in his life, Jacob is fleeing from his brother and stops to sleep for the night. While he is camped out, he has a life-changing encounter with God (Genesis 28).
Years later, Jacob returns to the spot where he had camped so long ago. When he arrives at the spot where he had once encountered God, the text tells us this-
Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother. (Genesis 35:6-7)
When Jacob returns to this spot, he builds an altar—a physical reminder of his encounter.
Jacob is saying, “I never want to forget what happened here.”
In the history of our faith, we have established several physical reminders of those things that we are never meant to forget.
Baptism reminds us that we are part of the new humanity—that we are participating in the resurrection of Christ in the world.
Communion—taking the bread and the wine—reminds us that we are recipients of an impossibly beautiful gift and that we are all brothers and sisters when we gather together around the table.
We create beautiful art because it points back to something that could never be expressed with mere words.
Jacob’s altar is a way of saying, Something meaningful happened, and it must be remembered.
The Munster House in Waxahachie exists because the human spirit cannot deny its own journey. We are hardwired to remember—to memorialize the past as a way of embracing who we are becoming.
As we look back with gratitude, may we embrace the story that God has placed us in.
May we remember that which must never be forgotten.
What are some things in your own life that help you remember your own experiences and journey? Do you think the act of remembering is important in our attempts to become better people in the world?