We were meant to remember together, in community. We need to tell our stories to others and to hear their stories told. We need to help each other with the interpretation of the Larger Story and our own. Our regular times of coming together to worship are intended to be times of corporate remembrance. “This, God has done,” we say; “this, he will do.” How different Sunday mornings would be if they were marked by a rich retelling of the Sacred Romance in the context of real lives. This is a far cry from the fact-telling, principle listing, list keeping that characterizes much of modern worship.
One of the reasons modern evangelicalism feels so thin is because it is merely modern; there is no connection with the thousands of years of saints who have gone before. Our community of memory must include not only saints from down the street, but also those from down the ages. Let us hear the stories of John and Teresa from last week, but also those of St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, to name only two. Let us draw from that “great cloud of witnesses” and learn from their journeys, so that our memory may span the story of God’s relationship with his people.
Remembering is not mere nostalgia; it is an act of survival, our way of “watching over our hearts with all diligence.” In The Brothers Karamazov, the gentle Alyosha says, “And even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve some day for our salvation.” .