All the descendants of Israel will glory in the Lord’s gift of victory.

Antiphon, Morning Prayer, Week I – Friday Morning

+ + +

The above recitation from morning prayer brings to mind a critical question raised by Roger Lundin in his excellent book Believing Again.

The question?  Can you believe without remembering?

This short passage poses implicitly that question.  Can we, as descendants of Israel, glory in God’s victory over death without remembering the narrative which surrounds it?  Stated another way: can we believe when a culture divorces itself from faith and its narrative?

The short answer is: No.

Secular culture relies on this divorce and in separating the human person from faith and its story, its language, its way of thinking and being.

You see, exclusionary secular culture tolerates no competitors, no beliefs other than what it proposes and enforces on its subjects.

Make no mistake this places our full humanity, happiness, health, peace and salvation at grave risk.

Likewise understand that this disposition fosters unbelief and all the ills that flow from it.  It places the Christian squarely in that dead space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  It places us in the doubt of that dark, dead day where we grieve and wonder: is there a tomorrow, is there hope?

The last several centuries have placed many things in our life to challenge remembrance of our faith and its narrative, its story.

Humans being humans, we prefer the immediate and that which distracts to that which asks us to think, to sit in solitude and ponder meaning, and purpose and that which exceeds today, mortality.  We prefer distraction to introspection and, hence, we live moment-to-moment with little remembrance of yesterday, yes – literally yesterday.  We are, as a consequence, easily fooled.

We are apt not to remember because we are distracted by pleasures, tasks, worry, daily events and instant demands, the intellect, selfishness, ambition, pride anchored in all sorts of definitions of ourselves, “obligations.”

For a Christian to remember he and she must recall that we could well have been in the crowd watching the crucifixion, perhaps watching in horrible attraction or yelling for a blood lust.

Yes, faith requires that we see who we can be in our most lost and beleaguered moments.  Simply stated, for a story of loving triumph to be the ultimate truth we must know its sharp contrast with our full nature and how it conquers our mere and meager humanity.

If you look around and wonder why it is that we are in the disordered state we are: think about remembering.  Do we remember our faith story or is doing so blocked by our secular culture and its preferences that we forget?

Memory precedes belief.  Think about it.

Shalom.

Advertisements