Forgetting’s easy. I do it all the time. I’m great at not remembering thins, especially important things that I need to do. I used to make lists of things I needed to get done. I even created a filing system to help me remember the things that had to get done. And I used it for a while. It worked great. And then I fell out of practice of using the system and now I keep forgetting to start it up again.
It bothers me that I forget. What really bothers me too is when I remember. I seem to remember all the things I forgot to do during the day when I’m laying down in bed about to go to sleep. And by that time, I can’t do any of it. So I figure I can do it first thing in the morning. When morning comes though, I forgot once again what I remembered the night before. Sadly, the cycle continues at night once again when I go to bed. I tried once making notes of things I remembered at night, but then in the morning I forgot where I put it only to find it later that night when I get to bed. It’s really a vicious cycle.
As human beings, we need to remember. It’s sometimes a matter of survival (like remembering that, yes, the stove is hot or don’t get too close to the bears at Yellowstone because…you know… they’re wild animals and stuff and you’re told not to go near them).
I’ve been reading through the Old Testament a lot lately. One thing God keeps calling on His people to do is to remember. He wants them to not only remember His mighty acts of deliverance and rescuing them, He also wants them to remember how He is the one who provides for them as well.
The problem is, is that throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel constantly forget. They forget what God had done for them. They forget how He had delivered them. They forget that they are to reflect His glory in all that they do. They forget that as His people they are to bear His name and be a nation of priests for Him (see Exodus 19:5-6).
To help the people of Israel remember His mighty acts, God has them set up monuments in the places where He showed His power and when He kept His promises. In Joshua, as they cross into the Promised Land by crossing the Jordan river (God parts the waters just like He did the Red Sea), God has the people set up 12 huge stones as a marker that God kept His promise and was also guiding them into the Promised Land.
Not just that, God gave the people ways in which to live that not only made them different from the nations, it made them remember how God had rescued them. In fact, God shows how they are to remember His mighty acts–through teaching the next generation. In doing so, the memory of His mighty acts, what He did for them, and the promises He made and will keep are being passed down.
In Deuteronomy 6, God teaches His people how to pass down the memory of the faith to the next Generation. And in doing so, the memory of God is passed down and faith in Him is passed down.
Sadly, this doesn’t happen. Time and time again the people of Israel forget about God. They do their own thing. They were supposed to be different than all the other nations around them. Yet when they forgot about what God had done for them, not only did they become like the other nations, there were many times they became worse than all the other nations.
I wonder sometimes–how often do we do that ourselves? How often do we not pass down the memory of the mighty acts of God? How often do we not pass down faith in Jesus? So many times in the church we think that if the younger generation just shows up that somehow they’ll catch the faith by what we do. That if they come to church and see our actions then they’ll learn the faith and all will be okay.
And that hasn’t happened.
For so many years, the younger generation was pushed back, pushed into church basements on Wednesday nights with orange drink and cookies and games. And sometimes a person was paid to babysit them. And if the students didn’t get into drugs or alcohol, didn’t get knocked up in high school (or college), didn’t get into jail, and pretty much stayed out of trouble (and out of the way of people at church) then many thought they had succeeded.
Years later, people now are seeing a mass leaving of the younger generation from the church and wonder why. They gave them what they wanted, right? They showed them how the Gospel by how they lived so they should’ve stayed, right?
That’s the problem.
Faith wasn’t passed down. The memory of God’s great works wasn’t passed down. What God did for us through Jesus wasn’t passed down. In trying to tell the Gospel by actions, our actions told a different story. One of hypocrisy. One of disdain for all things new. One of inauthentic faith. As we pushed them into the basement with cookies and orange drink, we pushed them out the door. And then were shocked and frightened when they didn’t come back in.
I really don’t know where to end here. I’ve forgotten where I was going to tell the truth. In my ramblings, I got lost in thought.
I do know that there is a hunger for memory. A hunger for something bigger, something more, something beyond actions, something needed in words to be passed down.
It isn’t too late.
We can help remember. We can bring the memory of Jesus and God’s mighty works to life not just in our actions, but in our words. In living out and speaking the memory of God’s mighty acts and how He kept His promises through Jesus.
Forgetting is easy. I do it all the time. Sadly, so has the church. There is that hunger for memory. We as the church need to feed that hunger with remember ourselves and teaching that memory, passing down the faith to the next generation.
How? I’m just blogging, we’ll figure it out together.