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Remembering

I’ve recently re-read that amazing book The Sacred Romance. Drawing Closer to the Heart of God, by the late Brent Curtis and John Eldredge (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1997). Near the end, in a chapter by Eldredge (the authors usefully write alternate chapters, and say whose writing it is) there is the ground-shaking (as I consider it) claim that: “The most crippling thing that besets the pilgrim heart is simply forgetfulness, or more accurately, the failure to remember. You will forget; this isn’t the first book you’ve read in search of God. What do you remember from the others?” (p. 202) [how awfully true – particularly for one who, like me, believes in Christian literature!]

To gradually lose one’s faith, spirituality, and consciousness of salvation, all one has to do is … nothing; it just naturally seeps away. To keep the flame of one’s conscious awareness of God bright, one has perpetually to remember, recollect, and rehearse the knowledge of what Christ has done for one, and how He loves me and has saved me, and is always present with me; none of these things happen automatically. The rhythms and seasons of the Church’s year aim to do just such a thing, remind us of our salvation (and, indeed, the regular occurrence of religious festivals comes from our Judaic heritage; above all, the Passover festival rehearsed God’s salvation of his people). But it is easy for high days and holy-days to come and go with a kind of purely-ritual routine; it is on a Monday morning (much the worst time for our faith, as C. S. Lewis seems to acknowledge, in his great sermon The Weight of Glory) that we most need to remember, to bring salvation to our minds , to recall rationally, even if our feelings are crushed;  and people, most of us at least, are so weak, so fallible, so easily ground down by the ordinary, boring, trials of living; the quotidian grind can sink us very effectively – without remembrance.

 

May 2013