I write these words on September 11, 2019. My Facebook news feed is filled with posts about 9/11. Most of the posts say something like "Don't Forget," "Remember 9/11," "Never Forgotten," or "Always in Our Hearts."
All of these expressions of remembrance caused me to reflect on the importance of remembering. Remembering is a God-given gift and duty to recall the past, but not simply to think about the event but to recall the past with an incentive for present action. It is to recall the impact and lessons from the past and bring them to life in the present.
To remember is to honor, to cherish, and to memorialize those deserving of such honor.
God expects us to remember.
You would likely be surprised how often God's people are told to remember in the Bible. For example, the term is used 169 times in the ESV Bible. Israel is repeatedly reminded in their history to remember God's deliverance from their bondage in Egypt (Exodus 13:3, etc). Joshua erected a memorial at the edge of the Jordan River so the children of Israel could remember their crossing into the promised land (Joshua 4:7). Israelites wore tassels, observed certain feasts, celebrated the annual Passover, and read the law all in attempts to remember.
Christians are instructed to remember the words of Jesus (Acts 20:25), our former bondage of sin (Ephesians 2:11-12), and our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:8). Christ instituted the Lord's Supper before his arrest and crucifixion as a memorial for us to remember his death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We are to remember our leaders and imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).
What I am trying to say is that God gave us memory to be used as a powerful tool. The past should impact today! We remember with an incentive for present action. We remember so we can be different and better today.
As I think about 9/11 and our country today, we need to remember but not just by focusing on actual events through pictures and news stories, but remember by recalling the lessons of that day and time. We must be stirred to present action.
We must be different today, because we remember!
Josh Ketchum is preacher at Seven Oaks Church of Christ.