My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
your name endures to all generations.
Recently, I came across the poem Let me remember by Winston O. Abbott. Four times the poet says, “Let me remember” before getting to what he wants to remember: “that my life is not a solitary thing.”
Abbot echoes the wisdom of John Donne, “No man is an island.” How true. What I do and who I am matters far beyond me. Each of us is interconnected to each other and to the natural world. We’re not just interconnected, we’re interdependent. Our actions, our words, our very being, ripple through countless lives. Yes, life is a series of fleeting moments of the present; yet when tied to others and tied to God, they are the powerful stuff of forever.
The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.
– Helen Keller
Time and again, my vision is shrouded to this truth. Shrouded in the mists of my daily doing: deadlines, calls, chores, family. Shrouded in the mists of heartache and longing. Even the most memorable moments can be lost in the midst of busyness, distraction, or trivial escape. It’s time for the mist to lift. It’s time to re-member, time to put the present bits together for the good of the whole.
Let us pray: Lord, take away the mists that keep us from the fullness of relationship and interaction. Lift the congestion and smog. Blow through. Clear the way until we are fully present to you, to nature, and to one another. In the Name of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Light, we pray. Amen.
Let me remember, by Winston O. Abbott
beyond forgetting —
let me remember always
for my spirit is often shrouded in the mists
let me remember beyond forgetting
that my life is not a solitary thing
it is a bit of the rushing tide
a leaf of the bending tree
a kernel of grain the golden wheat fields
a whisper of wind about the mountaintop
a reflection of sunlight upon the shining waters
it is fleeting
it is of the moment
it is timeless
it is of eternity.
For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please leave a comment.
Excerpt from Remember Roy G. Biv by The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist
“Roy G. Biv”
“Every Good Boy Does Fine.”
“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
“I before E, except after C.”
You recognize these. They are tools we learned as children to collect and retrieve facts that would be helpful throughout our lives.
But something has happened. With today’s portable personal technology, designed to store more and more personal information, our ability to remember has actually decreased. In a study a few years ago by Ian Robertson, professor at Trinity College in Dublin, dependence on such devices to remember birthdays, phone numbers, email addresses, and other important data has diminished the memory capacity of our brains!
“People have more to remember these days, and they are relying on technology for their memory. But the less you use of your memory, the poorer it becomes. This may be reflected in the survey findings which show that the over 50s who grew up committing more to memory report better performance in many areas than those under 30 who are heavily reliant on technology to act as their day to day aide memoir.”
Here’s the lesson: True remembrance takes intentionality and effort. And that is as true of spiritual matters as it is of dates and numbers. It’s one thing merely to recall central elements of our faith. It’s quite another to allow those memories to shape our conscience and inform our behavior.
On over ninety occasions in the Bible, God called people to remember God’s saving activity throughout history, through rituals, prayers, and symbols. From the Psalms to the seder, from the Ten Commandments to the Beatitudes, the Bible is filled with reminders of our identity and calling as kingdom people.