Henry Neufeld spoke on “Remembering Rightly” based on Deut. 6:20-22. Memories are prone to subjective embellishment, distortion and repression. Over time, the recall button gets harder to push. Miroslav Volf’s The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World describes how he was subjected to repeated interrogation in Yugoslavia under Marshal Josip Tito, but has been able to push painful memories to the periphery of his life and not let them define him.
1.How should we remember unpleasant experiences? Self-righteous rage at having been hurt produces an appetite for revenge, leading victims to victimize.
2.How long should we remember them for? Vengeance and resentment, no matter how apparently justified, make forgiveness difficult.
3.Is there a Christian way of remembering? Ignoring our enemies isn’t an option — we are called to love them. In communion, we remember Christ’s sacrifice and his promise of eternal life.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commissions of South Africa (Apartheid) and Canada (Aboriginal residential schools) have provided forums to help both victims and beneficiaries of unjust systems remember past wrongs in constructive ways. Redemption of the past is part of the Christian vision of salvation. May our God, as we remember, heal our memories. [KH]