I love words, and I love to write. I journal nearly every day, keep at least two notebooks at all times (one for ideas and one for regular things like lists), and am never without a diligently-tended planner. I enjoy taking hand-written notes in class and jotting brilliant thoughts on my ever-present pad of Post-it notes. The inside cover of my Bible is thick with sticky notes, and the margins of its pages are full of cross-references and revelations that have come to me as I read. (Not to mention the unwieldly jumble of papers I stash near my bed, full of ideas for more writing, children’s church lessons, sermon notes…)
Yet, in all this, I write for just one reason: to remember.
I write so I can remember all the things God speaks to me, all the things I’ve learned and experienced – and how the sweet kindness of my God is evident through it all. I have to write, because if I don’t, I know I’ll forget. And I don’t want to forget.
As humans, we are so prone to forgetfulness: we forget to take out the trash, forget the birthday of a friend, forget an appointment, forget what day it is, forget what road to turn on, forget what we are forgetting….We just can’t seem to remember everything, no matter how hard we try. Sometimes we even do things to try to forget: don’t think about it, throw mementos away, drown ourselves in unhealthy addictions to movies or drugs or anything else that will take away the pain of remembrance. We get lost, be it purposefully or unintentionally, in the deep shadows of forgetfulness, allowing memories and thoughts to grow musty. The weight of the past, the confusion of the present, the uncertainty of the future – when all these things seem to press in on us, sometimes forgetting feels easier by far.
But Jesus knows our weaknesses, our forgetfulness and our desire to forget. He calls us out of our place of forgetfulness into the brilliance of remembrance from the place of His peace. Our “humanness,” though it may bother us, does not bother Him. He gives sufficient grace to us, His forgetful yet beloved Bride. That’s why we have the Holy Spirit: to help us remember everything Jesus said (John 14:26). It’s also why He charged us to take Communion “in remembrance” of Him – He didn’t want us to forget all He has done, all the love and life He freely offers (Luke 22:19). He prods us gently, “Remember, remember Me!”
And so I write to remember.
I want to remember all His goodness to me. I want to remember His tender words, spoken exactly when I needed them. I want to remember every “aha!” moment of revelation. Often I forget and have to remind myself of the things my faithful God has already told me. When this happens, I can read through old journals and old blog posts – and I can remember. Maybe writing isn’t your way to remember – maybe its songs or pictures. While we do not need to construct physical altars to worship our God anymore because every barrier has been broken down through Jesus (Ephesians 2:13-18), there is something to be said about the beauty of the altars of remembrance built by many of God’s Old Testament people – Jacob, Moses, and Joshua in particular. We, who are without separation from God, can still create altars of remembrance within our hearts. These intangible altars stand in defiance of any lie that might come against us, toppling the lies with the truth of God’s goodness not forgotten. Like beacons lit in the darkness these altars stand to remind us of the Living Hope that is Jesus Christ our Savior. So let us remember together, beholding the goodness of our God that has been, that now is, and that is yet to come.
Lord, may we not forget. Clear away the fog of forgetfulness. We want to live our lives with the remembrance of who You are and all You have done. Amen.