In Memoriam

It’s very late as I’m writing this, though it won’t post until tomorrow morning. Forgive me if I write anything untoward.

A quick word on Holy Week: Some ancient Greek philosopher (whose name escapes me- it’s almost midnight) said that memory is “the rebirth of understanding.” That’s an interesting perspective, and I think a significant one for us.

Christianity is a historical religion, like Judaism. What I mean by that is not that Christianity has been around a long time, but that the propositions set forth in its doctrine depend on historical events- namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, and the pouring out of the Spirit on Pentecost. It doesn’t matter what we say if those things didn’t happen; if Christ is not raised from the dead (to paraphrase Paul), then we may as well all take our ball and go home. Nothin’ to see here.

Since our faith is historically rooted, we spend a lot of time looking back. Unlike, say, a Buddhist, it is necessary for a Christian to know at least a little bit of history. This can seem dry, particularly in regard to Holy Week, wherein we rehearse the same events every year, world without end, and so on. Jesus only died once; why do we have to dredge it up again and again? I remember well enough from last year, for crying out loud.

I think there are a lot of reasons why we ought to constantly keep the work of Christ at the front of our minds, but I’ll offer this one from our Greek friend: memory is the rebirth of understanding. Every time I remember the work of Christ for me, the events leading up to his Passion and the events following, some new insight in born. Because though the events don’t change, I change. I’m not the same man I was last Easter. I have committed different sins, I’ve seen more grace, I encountered different circumstances- I’m in a different spot, and so looking back, I see a different angle to that familiar old story.

I think it’s safe to say that we won’t ever exhaust all that Holy Week has to offer. So keep remembering- you may be surprised at what you see.


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