First, I read a post by Scot McNight, who was thinking on The End of Memory, a book by Miroslav Volf. In particular, McNight looks at Volf’s question on “how does a Christian remember suffered wrongs if the Christian learns to remember through the lenses of the Exodus and the Passion.” The answer? When our memory is shaped by the cross, says McNight, “the difference is dramatic . . . . it honors the victim as it extends grace to the violent . . . and it creates a reconciled community.”
This post resonated with me on two levels. I was struck not only by the power of the cross in changing how we relate to others, but also the testimony of this insight to the power of Truth when it becomes the lens (or “memory,” as Volf puts it) through which we look.
I really like this idea of Truth becoming a “memory.” If we choose to deal with God’s Truth as memory, it becomes more than a doctrine or description or idea. It deepens, absorbs and seeps into our being, our very cells. We “own” it. It internalizes as part of us—and that (like memories) is powerful. These “memories” then begin to influence us from deep within. They become pieces of reality and our experience of how the world works. They become part of that lens through which we understand and live and act in the world.
Shortly after reading McNight’s post, I ran across another post that reminded me of one of those central Truths that I am seeking to internalize—one which, after thinking on McNight’s post, I’m beginning to believe is becoming a “memory.”
I found that post on Emerging in Ludlow, where David posted a simple quote from Oswald Chambers about prayer:
“Prayer does not fit us for greater works; prayer is the greater work.” Like McNight’s post, this one resonated on more than one level. The quote struck me as not only an important truth about what prayer is, but also a great reminder of the reality that it’s not about what we do or how we live but about the relationship we have God—how we live and what we do will flow from that. Prayer isn’t about becoming better people but about being in relationship with God. That relationship is what matters. That relationship is and must be what comes first.
This is a Truth I’m working with God to move from head knowledge to heart familiarity. It is a Truth that needs to be memory. Everything flows from the Father—life, love, purpose, meaning, joy, peace, body-life, Kingdom-living, the list goes on. But it is the Father who is the focus. It is He that our very depth and core seeks and for whom we long.
It’s easy to get distracted by other things—I even (all too often) allow the things that flow from him to become ends in themselves rather than their Source. But more and more I’m returning to that Truth, be it through a post like David’s or a moment in my conversations with God. The reality of this Truth is becoming less of a doctrine or idea and more like a memory. And that’s beginning to influence how I think, feel and act.
I deeply appreciate moments like these because (kinda like my encounters with wind, armadillos and spiders) it reminds me of what’s real—and this, I think, is some of what it means to be transformed by renewing of our minds. We let God change the way we think which changes the way we perceive, feel and act—which will be in ways he desires and in ways which will renew, glorify, redeem and bring life, all things that flow from him. And it really is all about him. It’s not about becoming a better person, doing great things or living the right way. It’s about living in him and knowing him better. Everything else follows from that.
(Images: “simply blue” by Paleontour at flickr; “angled” (cross) by Clearly Ambiguous at flickr; “praying” by myfotos303 at flickr; some rights reserved for all photos)