The Spiritual Practice of Remembering

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How do we make progress in our faith?

Well, God would have us move forward by looking back. We are called to remember what God has done for us, in order to be ready for what God wants to do in and through us. The spiritual practice of remembering does not come naturally. We readily recall all the pressures that weigh upon us and rehearse all the complaints that we have about others. We easily forget who God is, the many wondrous things He has done for us, and His authority over everything.

In the opening chapters of Deuteronomy, the Israelites gather to hear Moses give the final set of instructions before they enter into the Promised Land. Moses’ final words look back at the great events of the Exodus that gave them life, and they look forward to the commandments that will guide their life in the Promised Land. This is what God’s people do when they gather. They remember the past to engage the future:

“Know therefore today, and lay it upon your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other” (Deut 4:39).

The phrase “lay it upon your heart” translates the Hebrew idiom “cause your heart to return.” In the spiritual discipline of remembering, we grab our heart and re-direct it back to the God who made us, saved us, and gave us new life.

Moses asks us to re-live God’s revelation in fiery glory on Mt. Sinai, the place where God declared that we are his treasured possession, his kingdom of priests and his holy nation. The place where God gave us his law as a gift, not a burden.

Take some time today to think about a time or event when God seemed powerful and transcendent. Or, journal about a time or event when you understood God’s forgiveness. Contemplate the declaration that the Lord is God, and “there is no other,” and so He alone deserves your total allegiance. This week, share with someone a story about how God answered prayer in a meaningful way. As we remember all that God has done for us, it frees us from fear and emboldens us to live for Him who died for us.

Walter Kim