“Then and Now(…and then): A study in Forgetfulness and Memory” [Part 1] Last weekend I attended the 40th anniversary reunion of the Mustard Seed Church, a congregation I started in January 1972 in Lawrence Kansas. The joy of gathering together with those from those earliest days and from the current church gave occasion for dozens of stories, most of which began “I remember…” or “Do you remember…” Memory and memories is my topic today. What is the point of remembering? What should we remember and what should be relegated to the world of forgetfulness?
When we were in college, many of us quoted three favorite Bible texts just before we took examinations and quizzes.
Prov 10.7 “The memory of the righteous is blessed.”
John 16.13 “Spirit will disclose to you what is to come” and John 14.26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” We counted on that ‘bring to your remembrance’ citation often.
Of course, that Proverbs passage has now changed as we age. We might read it like this: “The memory of the righteous people who have passed away is still blessed”. When we pass through historical markers, our lives help us to reflect on the Bible, on what God meant, and as a result, we learn more. That’s why we keep reading. That’s why we keep ‘doing theology’ in seminaries and as the world changes, our understandings change and grow.
To be fair, some folks don’t like reunions.
I understand that. Their weight and appearance is less beautiful than in the past. Their hairline is receding or long gone. Their hopes for a good marriage and beautiful children were dashed when their spouse left and the kids went on drugs. Who wants to dredge that up? A reunion is a place of embarrassment and shame or relentless pain, they might imagine. Those folks are not with us today.
On the other hand, some folks love reunions.
Their children are graduating Duke and Harvard. Their beauty salon continues to make them look like they naturally appeared 30 years ago. Or they just don’t care about appearances at all and never have. They prefer the people from ‘back then’ and love history and facts and …
Today we are going to look at memories and forgetfulness.
This morning in my email box I received the Daily Bible Verse. I’ve enjoyed Dave Whitehead’s comments and selections for years. I know he is a pastor in New York, but have never met him. He often brings me a glimpse of God that I need.
Posted: 28 Apr 2012 09:15 PM PDT
Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” – Deuteronomy 4:10 (NIV)
Throughout the Bible, God has called His people to step away from their normal activities to gather together and learn of Him. Moses was faced with the promise that God made to Abraham of a people “as numerous as the stars”, and God wanted His people to know of Him. So step away from your normal activities and learn of God’s ways; teach them to others. When you do, you are stepping into the story of God that started with Adam, was fulfilled in Jesus, and is manifest in His church.”
That’s it-- pretty simple and straightforward. Take time apart, ponder God. Maybe that’s why some of you are here this weekend.
Last Wednesday in Australia was a national day, Anzac Day, a day to remember the memory of the fallen, in wars, mostly devoted to World War I heroes titled diggers, and commemorating their service to our country. In the US we use a similar moment and calendar event on Memorial Day. The theme is “Lest we forget” and starts with dawn services and tributes. Each year there is increased participation and national loyalty, along with the commensurate support for our troops serving around the globe.
That phrase “lest we forget” is actually biblical and is the main focus of our Bible study in the next blog.