Saturday, September 20, 2008

Forgetful Memory

I have come to the realization that I have a forgetful memory. It is not that uncommon really. I can recall in great detail experiences, moments, and situations that I have lived through in my life. I seem to forget the impact or the emotional impact on each event. It seems time erases memories from us. My memories of my younger athleticism do not perhaps match the reality of the impact of the player I was on the court. My band was almost certainly not as well-known as I want to remember. But that is fine. We as a society do the same. When we as a nation paused last week to remember the tragic events of 9-11, we quickly forget the outpouring of patriotism, unity, compassion, and a need to serve others. Same can be said of other such tragic events as the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine, and Katrina. As time passes we tend to misplace our focus and energy.

Sometimes we are tempted to live in the past and think that those good old days were better than anything that is going on now or anything that might come in the future. We tend to falsify the past. Not intentionally, but because of our human psyche. The Israelites had the same problem. When faced with the difficulty of passing through the desert after being freed they forgot what it was like to be in bondage. They even complained to God that they were better off. They boasted to God that they had more food and better food while being slaves. This was not true. But God listened to their pleas and granted them the food they requested. It is a reminder that God’s goodness, compassion, and ability to provide for us transcend in spite of our memory defects. We like to cling to what is familiar, comfortable, and predictable but that does not prepare us for the future. The promise land was only a promise, they had not seen, touched, or inhabited the land God was to give them. They were focused on what had been compared to what could be but did not pay attention to God’s activity in the now. Caught between two destinations, one known the other unknown, they didn’t take pleasure in God’s presence during the journey. While we find ourselves between destinations let us not neglect God in our midst. That is something we must not forget.



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