• Pastor Margot Wright

Remember? Remember. Remember!

Updated: Oct 30


Remember?

Do you remember the song in the video above by Earth, Wind and Fire? It has been going through my mind all week. It’s been part of the soundtrack going through my mind this week as I have been preparing for this Sunday’s Affirmation of Baptism and my sermon. The word “remember” is in lots of songs. The tone of how that word is spoken, the punctuation and the context in which it is written, can make it mean and signify many things.


Remember?

Do you remember your own Affirmation of Baptism aka Confirmation? 1976. At Emmanual Lutheran Church in North Hollywood California I shared what Jesus meant to me as part of our confirmation service. Similar to our six confirmands who will be affirming their faith this Sunday October 31- I was also fourteen years old. We also wore white robes with pinned on red carnations. My grandmother gave me a copy of the green LBW hymnal. My parents gave me a charm that had the day and year on it. Somewhere I have a photo and that charm- but today I don’t remember where they are. Writing about this has brought back some memories that I haven’t recalled in a long time. In preparation for the events of this weekend that Earth, Wind and Fire song in the video above has gone through my mind- it’s from that time period.


Remember?

In less than two weeks my college roommate is coming for a quick two day visit. Celebrating a milestone birthday for her together we will most likely be asking one another, “Do you remember…?”. Part of the bond and connection is our shared memories of more than forty years of friendship. It’s a gift to have a “co-rememberer”. And each Saturday when we chat we often laugh at our “selective” memories and how we often have remembered events differently.


Remember.

In addition to a baptism at our 9am worship and Affirmation of Baptism at our 10:30am worship we celebrate Reformation Sunday. At Reformation we remember: the posting of 95 Theses, the power of scripture translated into one's own language to transform our lives, that “God’s word is our great heritage”.


Remember.

Each year on Reformation we hear this reading from Jeremiah 31:31-34 . Scripture serves as a source of collective memory and with many ways to practice remembering - repetition helps. So if this bible reading sounds familiar perhaps it’s that you have been in worship on a Reformation weekend. At the end of the Jeremiah reading is a promise that God won’t remember our sin. Memory and remembering can be used for good or for not so good. There are traumatic memories that need to be healed. There is selective memory which needs co-remembers to help us have a fuller understanding. In our gospel reading from John 8:31-36 selective memory is at play- “we have never been slaves to anyone” the Jews tell Jesus. A false memory. Remembering helps us reference the past so we can learn from it and work to not repeat history when that history isn’t healthy or helpful. And we can repeat and remember that which is helpful.


Remember.

Remembering can bring about hope. “This isn’t the first time”, “We’ve been through this before”. Memory can serve as a tool to draw upon experience and strength from the past to fortify us as we move forward. Intentional use of memory and remembering helps us to not get stuck in nostalgia or a longing for the “good old days” that are often selective memory. In remembering we can help one another weed out the memories that include distortion instead of perspective. Remembering can help us keep things in their true perspective.


Remember!

Each of our six confirmands has chosen their own Confirmation Bible Verse. Remember!

Here are those verses for you to explore and to consider how these words have become for our young adults words to remember

Remember!

God works in strange and mysterious ways. God’s Spirit is alive and at work in our world. Take those 6 bible verses above as words for you to remember. Perhaps you will use them as a sermon of sorts from six teenagers who are sharing a part of their faith story with you. Remember God’s word is a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105). Remember -scripture is meant to guide us, help us, and remind us that we God's story is our story. Scripture has words that call us back from having missed the mark and include stories and remembrances that are very challenging. We get to learn and then remember the context and the climate, the challenges and the changes of the times in which our scripture is written. We trust that in the bible being a living word it keeps working in us and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Remember!

God’s word is a living word not meant to be used as a weapon- it is intended as a gift, a way, an opening from God’s heart into our own hearts. So much of how many of us remember scripture is in song. You know how hearing a song can “take us back”. Songs can create a soundtrack to help us remember where we have been and have far we have come. Martin Luther wrote "A Mighty Fortress is our God " based on Psalm 46. This year as we hear what may be familiar may we also be open to letting that which we remember spark new hope, faith and love. Remembering helps us see how far we have come. Remember in the all past present and future moments the same Spirit that breathed life into us at our birth will be with us when we take our last breath! God is with us- in the beginning, in the middle and to the very end! Remember!


Remember? Remember. Remember!

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