Memory is misunderstood. The practice of thinking about who you've been, whose you are, and where you're going will determine the inertia by which our lives gain momentum. Many religions participate in some form of this, from meditation to prayer. It's even been documented that "religious people live longer, healthier lives."
Sometimes we need to stop and remember. Not just for a moment, but really gnaw on it. For instance, fifty years ago this month five men were martyred in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador and their story changed lives around the world. This weekend a powerful movie called "End Of The Spear" was released to help us digest this story, and a friend of mine who saw it said this:
How many times have we gone to see a movie and wished for two hours of our lives back? Can you say "Oceans 12"!? Holla!! This movie is the direct opposite. I found myself emotionally gripped by the movie and atthe edge of my seat. I felt totally inspired by this movie. The acting is OFF THE HOOK. I was like who are these people? They are unbelievable!! The acting is stupid good. The production and directing is very well done. The story line is awesome. Do not worry - this is not "Left Behind." Some of the cinemetography was just beautiful. There are some gruesome scenes though so the PG-13 rating is appropriate. I personally givethe movie 3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars.When we take the time to remember, we can even recognize how tragedy has shaped us. Here are a couple of real examples along these lines:
If you know of any missionary anywhere - you gotta see this movie. "End of the Spear" took me out of my materialistic, selfish world and inspired me with the essence of sacrifice and the power of selfless love. The movie was not perfect - but neither was Narnia. Unfortunately, there were about 12 people in my theater on a Friday night. I don't think this movie has the marketing budget that "Narnia" did (don't get me started!). Probably nowhere close. So see this movie fast as I don't give it a long theater life.
"[Before the tsunami], I thought the Buddha saved us. You know I believed in Buddha, and I would have died for that at one point. Now I only believe God. I am a changed Jenat, a new Jenat. Salvation came to my house. That’s why. I didn’t think I would change like this, but that is the power of God.”- Sri Lankan woman who accepted Christ after last year's devastating tsunami, Baptist Press
"This means everything. We've come home. My house is gone, but I'm still home for Christmas." - Lila Southall, upon returning to her New Orleans church after Hurricane Katrina, Associated Press
Today I spoke with a gal after our first service who reflected on where she has come from versus where she is in Christ. Through some hard choices, God has redeemed her soul, restored her relationship with her mom, and even given her an opportunity to serve in the church. At times, though, her memory works against her and she remembers the harder choices she made that took her away from God. I shared with her something that I'd like to go public with here, too.
God's name is "I AM." It's not "I WAS," nor is it "I WILL BE." In fact, it's not even "I'M NOW." His name is "I AM," meaning that He always has been God, is God right now, and always will be God. We showed up in creation on day 6 - guess who was here before that?
And the cool thing is that not only can God be the God of our present and future, but He can even be the God of our past. Meaning that when we made the worst choices we ever made, He still loved us and His image was still buried beneath us. If we allow Him to, His whispers can be louder than any screams of the past.
Like I said... memory is misunderstood.
Wait... I did say that, right?
God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' (Exodus 3:14)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)