Memory Loss

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2017 19 Dec

In the image, a person forms a circle around the setting sun with their index finger and thumb, focusing the shining light.

Memory loss is something many people fear, not just because it’s inconvenient to forget everything but because forgetfulness can be a sign of encroaching decrepitude. Increasing forgetfulness can signal that a mind once agile and quick is now on the decline, encased in a body that has also seen better days. Anyone who has dipped a toe into old age, or knows someone who has, realizes that whoever invented the phrase “the golden years” deserves the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. There’s nothing golden about the loss of so many of our basic faculties.

Scripture repeatedly speaks of the importance of remembering, no matter how young or old you are.

Remember, God says, that I rescued you from Egypt.

Remember that I led you through the desert.

Remember to follow my commandments.

Remember to be kind to strangers because you were once strangers.

Remember my promises. I will always remember you.

With God and in God and through God we remember the love story of salvation—a story that is both ours and his to commemorate and to live.

Mark Buchanan points out that faith without memory will quickly morph into something less than faith. “Our faith,” he says, “is rooted in memory, so much so that one of the key works of the Holy Spirit is the ministry of reminding (see John 14:26). The day we forget the works of God, from ages past until this very morning, is the day our faith starts to deform into something else—mythology, ideology, superstition, dogmatism, agnosticism, fanaticism. Remembering well is essential to an authentic, living faith.”1

Today let us ask the Spirit to stir up the memory of all God has done for us from ages past until this very morning. And let us enjoy the peace that comes from knowing that God still remembers us.

1. Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 197–98.