A great deal of life in Christ depends upon remembering. Over and over throughout Scripture, God’s people are commanded to “remember the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:18 among many). The central act in Christian Worship, the Eucharist, is commanded to be done “in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). One of the vital ministries of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian is to “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26) There is something vital to living that requires active memory of what God has done for us. We are required to remember His words, His actions, His sacrifice. Forgetting is equated in many places to disobedience, to idolatry, to disloyalty and faithlessness. Why is remembering so important and why do we find it so difficult to keep top of mind the words and actions of our God?
A passage in the Narnian novel, “The Silver Chair” by C.S. Lewis gives an interesting perspective to this reality. Aslan, the Christ-like Lion has given a task to Jill Pole, who along with Eustace Scrubb are tasked with the rescue of the lost Prince Rilian. Jill has received very specific instructions (“signs”) that are crucial to the fulfilling of the mission. After she has repeated and learned the signs, Aslan emphasizes their importance to her.
“But first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whenever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly; I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”
The air certainly is thicker here. And our minds can certainly become confused. And most of all, things are very rarely what they appear to be. A great deal of the reason that remembering is so important is that the confusion of life alters our perception of reality. We need fixed points to anchor our soul onto to maintain equilibrium. And the ultimate reality is the reality of God’s words and God’s actions. Our identity, our destiny and our course in daily life are shaped by this ultimate reality and our response to that reality. Calling to mind, remembering, saying to ourselves over and over the “signs” of God’s goodness is perhaps the primary task we have in growing in Christ. We don’t produce that growth on our own, but we certainly cultivate the ground for growth with our remembrance. There are no shortage of other words, other signs or other appearances to provide us alternative narratives from which to live. But all of these are skewed and in the final analysis, damaging or incomplete. Remembering is a choice. It is a discipline. It is a way of life. What will you remember today? Forget what needs forgetting and remember what is most important to remember. God’s thoughts, words and actions toward you are what is most worth remembering.