843 Acres: Do We Remember How to Use Our Memory?

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Num 33 (text | audio, 5:48 min)
& Ps 78:1-39 (text | audio, 3:45 min)
Highlighted: Ps 78:5-7

Memories: “Once upon a time,” says science writer Joshua Foer, “this idea of having a trained, disciplined, cultivated memory was not nearly as alien as it would seem to us to be today.” Foer laments, “Over the last few millennia, we have invented a series of technologies – the alphabet, the scroll, the codex, the printing press, photography, the computer, the smart phone – that have made it easier and easier for us to externalize our memories, for us to essentially outsource this fundamental human capacity … Having little need to remember anymore, it sometimes seems that we’ve forgotten how” [1].

Futures: Remembering, however, is essential to our faith. In Psalm 78, for example, Asaph says that our memory is the key to our future ability to hope in God: “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” [2].

Spatiality: How can we increase our memory today so that we may hope in God tomorrow? Foer says that the difference between memory experts and the rest of us is that they exercise their spatial memory and navigation more than we do. In other words, they take “information that is lacking in context, significance or meaning, and transform it so that it becomes meaningful in light of all the other things they have in their minds.” In our relationship with God, therefore, we need to internalize his word and promises so that they are meaningful to us. How can we place them in our spatial memories? How can we “attach” them to things in our lives that we already know?

Prayer: Lord, “Our lives are the sum of our memories. How much are we willing to lose from our already short lives by losing ourselves in our Blackberries or our iPhones, by not paying attention to the human being across from us, by being so lazy that we are not willing to process deeply?” [3] How much are we willing to lose by not meditating on your word? We long to live hopeful lives. Therefore, make us people who remember to remember so that we may be people who hope in you. Amen.

M’Cheyne Weekend Texts (our reading plan)

Sat, May 25: Num 34 (text | audio, 3:19 min) and Ps 78:40-72 (text | audio, 3:42 min)
Sun, May 26: Num 35 (text | audio, 4:43 min) and Ps 79 (text | audio, 1:44 min)
Mon, May 27: Num 36 (text | audio, 2:16 min) and Ps 80 (text | audio, 1:49 min)

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Footnotes

[1] Joshua Foer. “Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do.” TED Talks. February 2012. | [2] Psalm 78:5-7 ESV | [3] Id. at [1].

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