Having just observed the Day of Remembrance to honour the fallen and give thanks for the relative peace that we are privileged to experience in our part of the world, we do so by telling and listening again to the stories. This is a very important observance, as the statement goes, “Lest we forget.”
We’ve heard of the warning issued in a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, when Winston Churchill paraphrased a quote, saying, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” that George Santayana had said in 1905, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Remembering is vitally important and we must never forget. But not just to avoid the fear and turmoil that the repetition of a problematic past may cause.
The discipline of remembering and passing the story of life, from generation to generation, has been the standard practice of the communities of faith for centuries. Telling the story of God’s grace, mercy and love, in spite of the human tendency to reject, deny and ignore it, has not diminished its truth or power to sustain and transform people’s lives.
Whether we fail to learn because of our own hubris, or cannot remember due to never being told, may be a good place to begin as we consider how we hear the Biblical Revelation (God’s Story).
The stationary treadmill of human failing doesn’t seem nearly as inviting a story as eternal life in the Kingdom of God’s presence. Remember. It’s life giving.