Every individual and community must go through the process of constructing memory. A recent expression of this was when Microsoft announced that they had a placed Andrew Assad to serve as “Chief Storyteller”. What a job that would be?
Isn’t that the “true” role for those who serve as leaders and supporters in local congregations? Shouldn’t it be our business to construct the memories of the Living God and his profound activity among us?
This may not be the norm today. Ask the average church person to share what God has been up to in their own lives and in their community and it might be surprising what they might say. Perhaps it is the advent of structuring the whole worship gathering around a “3 part series” that has provoked us to shrink our memory-making capability. We have a hard time remembering what was presented last series, and if we were honest, one week ago. This is helpful for some pastors, who seem to preach the same thing each week and get away with it.
Ancient Israel (and correspondingly the first several centuries of the Church) had a method of keeping an active memory admist their worshipping community. They framed the whole yearly calendar in such a way that it had a way of rehearsing the story and empowering the community to continue to live in the flow of God’s ongoing narrative.
Much of the personal devotion movement might also perpetuate this long-term memory loss. We read isolated texts of Scripture, mining Scripture for a truth to inspire me today is an improper way to read Scripture. No wonder the average person believes the Bible is: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
The Bible is anything but Basic: it is God’s grand narrative of not only rising the dead, but rising the living. (Hat tip to Peter Rollins’ blog post yesterday)
The Bible is anything but Instructions: It is the grand narrative of God’s righteousness on display. (His never-ending, zestful passion to rescue lost humanity and to renew creation)
The Bible is anything but Before Leaving Earth: Jesus understands God’s dream quite clearly: “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done, On Earth as it is in Heaven”.
Instead of trying to cram God’s word into our lives (and forgetting about it not long after) perhaps we should find ways to cram our lives into God’s story?
To do this, it takes the construction of memory. Reflecting on God’s magnificent grace found in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, Jesus, and the church age.