Isn’t it ironic? Despite the rise of technology and the unprecedented access to information that its given us (or maybe because of it), we’ve got a problem: we don’t know how to remember anymore.
The other day, I accidentally locked myself, two new volunteers, and (most importantly) my iPhone out of the church office while we were setting up for worship. The new guys had their phones but, being new, they didn’t have anyone’s phone number. And for the life of me, I couldn’t remember a single phone number of someone who could come help us (my wife included). And why would I? My phone does that for me.
Our problem is bigger than forgetting phone numbers, scheduled meetings, and names. Not only is technology making us more forgetful of life’s minute details, but our fast-paced and productivity-obsessed culture discourages our long-term memories as well. Taking time to remember—to recall, recount, retell—doesn’t do anything. At least nothing more than give us warm-fuzzies. Life is always lived looking ahead: what’s next on my to-do list?
We could learn something from the Israelites. They had a practice of actively remembering. The Book of Psalms is filled with songs and prayers that retell the same stories over and over again.
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” (Ps 77:11-12)
They weren’t passive in remembering. Instead, they actively set aside time to retell stories, recalling God’s hand at work in their lives. And that remembering propelled them forward, giving confidence that the God who was faithful to their forefathers (and to them) in the past could be trusted tomorrow: how do you recount and remember God’s faithfulness?
Photo sourced from Flickr under a Creative Commons license.