You don't know me. I'm okay with that. This is my search for insignificance.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Its a funny thing about memories. We seem to recall what we want to recall. If we have fond memories of a time or place, we forget what was unpleasant. On the other hand, if we do not have fond memories, then nothing good could have possibly happened in relation to said time, person or place. This graphic does a pretty good job of explaining this.
I remember my childhood. I grew up in Florida. I remember warm weather, fun vacations, lots of boisterous noise and many hours spent playing outside.
But memories can be tricky. If I'm honest with myself I also remember sunburns. That sun was hot. I remember 40 hours driving in a van to our destination. My parents didn't believe in planes. The boisterous noise may have been, at times, sibling rivalry. Oh, and during one of those hours outside, I was almost kidnapped, though I'm sure they would have brought me back.
God seems to understand how powerful memories can be. In the Old Testament we see Him telling the Israelites to pile rocks all over the place to remember a big moment in their history. Joshua 4:1-9 is a great example. Over in the New Testament, we read about Jesus telling His disciples to remember Him, by using the Passover meal. This would involve a special holiday with taste and smell, a powerful agent for memories.
It's hard to imagine any one of the disciples needing a device of any kind to remind them of Jesus. They could have gone back to fishing for the rest of their life. I think they would have remembered that one guy who walked on water and healed leprosy and even raised people from the dead. Those would be difficult things to forget, not to mention that Jesus was about to raise Himself from the dead.
Yeah, Jesus is kind of memorable.
But He commanded them. He took bread and wine and told them to keep coming together, to keep eating together and to do so in His name. Taking communion is about remembering. The disciples were told to remember their meals with Jesus. We are told to remember the sacrifice paid.
The Passover was something the Jews did every year. Meeting together was something the Christians did daily. The piles of rocks in the Old Testament were passed more than once. The stories were shared often.
Even today we share the old, old story. None of us are beyond learning, or relearning, something valuable from a recounting. Memories can fade, but repetition solidifies those things we hold most dear.
I don't always take to heart the value of ritual in the Church. I could be accused of sometimes going through the motions. Yet there is value in repeating those things which are most beneficial to keep in mind. When it comes to childhood memories, I know certain things have been blurred while others enhanced in my mind.
Fortunately in the Church, we have the Bible and a community of believers to remind us of what is good. We have leaders to keep pointing to the mission. We have one another to help us retain that which should never be forgotten.