Years ago during a time before I knew Christ, I was in counseling trying to move through a river of depression that streamed through the center of my life, while I also moved through thickets of both small and large traumas from my life that fenced me into an insular, isolated existence of self involvement. It was also during this time I told the therapist I felt I had a repressed memory of something beautiful but that I couldn’t quite remember.
How then did I need to breathe in the words of Hildegard of Bingen, “In faithful remembrance, I breath the fragrance of roses, which spring forth from the thorns.”
Themes of remembrance, threads weaved through pages of the Bible, tell the epic story of human lives filled with both anguish and joy pivoting on both the forgetfulness and remembrance of God. Themes of remembrance include God remembering the people:
As Jesus is dying on the cross, one of the criminals next to him cries out, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” -Luke 23:42
“God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.” Genesis 8:1
“Remember these things, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me.” Isaiah 44:21
Yet, remembrance in scripture is a two way street, a reciprocal calling for us to also remember God and God’s holy ways.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” -Exodus 20:8-11
“Remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes.” Numbers 15:25
“And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand” Deut 5:15
“He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” -Luke 22:19
Just the same, we long for God’s edenic plan for heaven on earth. Remembrance calls out within the boundlessness of our faith, from the cellars of human consciousness, to return to Garden of Eden before the fall.
In fact I think this is the repressed memory I had of something beautiful. A longing to return to the Garden.
Yet, how often our longings for God get shrouded by the dark cloak of forgetfulness! How often we forget that the kingdom of God is within, right here right now, that, with remembrance, depression lifts, anxiety that rules our days dissipates, and joy awaits us around the corner with welcoming arms.
Remembrance, like a wailing child finally drinking the warm milk from her mother’s breast, returns us to the blazing light of God’s nourishing love.
Reminding us that God’s kingdom is at hand.
Reminding us that we are sons and daughter of light.
Children and servants of Christ.
As Hildegard writes, “Christ shakes up your spirit with gusty winds of memory, so that it opens itself to good will”.
What causes you to forget? What can you do today to help you remember God, to return to the Garden?