What would it be like to not remember?
Chris and I once watched a dvd about a person who suffered from antegrade amnesia. I'd never heard of it either. Basically, it means that a person suffers a brain injury and looses their ability to create new memories. They can remember events from before their injury, but no matter how much time passes, they wake up every morning thinking they are back at the day before their injury occurred. As you can imagine, this condition would lead to huge issues in trying to lead a normal life. Our ability to remember impacts so much of our every day work and quality of life.
I am reading through the chronological Bible this year -- along with everyone else in our church, I might add, but maybe I'll talk about that some other time. We are currently in Deuteronomy and that's really what started all my thoughts about remembering.
I'm intrigued with this theme in Deuteronomy; with the way Moses leads the Israelites back through the archives of their memories. He relates to them their whole story, starting back in Egypt. This is not a short little discourse on the highlights of their history. No, Moses drags it all up; the hard, the amazing, and the terrible. He recounts all God's mighty acts, all the Israelites pathetic failures and all the details in between. But that isn't all. He tells them to keep remembering. And he gives them a reason.
After Moses describes to them the land they are about to enter -- a land that is beautiful and plentiful; full of food and comfort and wealth -- then he tells them this:
“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today." Deut 8:11 NLT
When I am reading about the children of Israel, I almost always start comparing them to 'my people'. For some reason I'm constantly drawing parallels between them and my Anabaptist heritage. As I've read through Deuteronomy, I can almost hear my ancestors saying, "Beware lest you forget!" And I've looked around with tears and aching heart and wondered, is this what we're missing? Is this where we're failing?
If our ability to remember impacts so much of our every day work and quality of life in the physical world, is the same true for the spiritual world? Is it critical to look back and remember as a people; as a church; as a family; as individuals? I can't help but think it is important. Looking back and remembering my own story -- the good, the bad and the ugly -- has been a good checkpoint for me. A good reminder to beware.
What do you think? Is remembering an important part of your spiritual quality of life?
P.S. The pictures are to
help me remember