Session 2: The Power of Memory—for Human Beings and for God
Please have your Bible with you as you make your way through this reflection. As Father John likes to say, “Bible study is not a spectator sport.” He will be using the New American Bible Revised Edition.
Scripture Passages Mentioned:
- Exodus 2:23
- Deuteronomy 6
- Judges 3
- Book of Ruth
- 1 Samuel 8
- 2 Samuel 7:8
- 1 Kings 8:22
- Psalm 137
- Isaiah 11
- What is your reaction to the importance of memory/remembering in the biblical narratives we have been discussing? Do you agree that recalling the works of the Lord’s fidelity to His people in the past can be an effective means to emerge from a chaotic mindset in the present? If so—or if not—why? If we can agree that God doesn’t actually need to have His memory “jarred” by the Israelites, then why do you suppose it was so important for them to continuously remind God of His saving power for His people (“you brought us out of Egypt”; “you promised David that his lineage would never leave the throne of Israel”; etc.)?
- One way to understand the chaos that the Israelites often find themselves in the midst of is that God is simply punishing them for having broken His covenantal rules. Is this all the Bible is saying? What could be a more nuanced and mature way of understanding the “descent into chaos—emergence from chaos” dynamic that relies more upon the Israelites’ and God’s responsibility for building and nurturing their ongoing relationship?
- As you read and pray with these texts, what is stirring in your own heart? How do you understand the role of memory as a potential path for healing and emergence from any personal turmoil that you are struggling with at this present time?