After the evil Witch is killed, in C. S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair, Pulddleglum catches one Earthman who explains what is happening with the rest of the Earthmen:
“About an hour ago we were all going about our work—her work, I should say—sad and silent, same as we’ve done any other day for years and years. Then there came a great crash and bang. As soon as they heard it, everyone says to himself, I haven’t had a song or a dance or let off a squib for a long time; why’s that? And everyone thinks to himself, why, I must have been enchanted.”
Under enchantment, the Earthmen could not remember who they were, and they were sad and silent, burdened, without song or dance (or even a squib!). G. K. Chesterton wrote, “We are all under the same mental calamity … We have all forgotten who we really are.”
There is power in the English word “remember” but the power is best illustrated by its opposite. The opposite of remember is not merely to Forget—that is the opposite of to Recall—the opposite of remember is to Dismember. This is why the Earthmen hadn’t sung or danced, and it is why we are without joy and hope. We’ve all been dismembered, cut off.
This is Satan’s most powerful weapon; he spews forth lies to dismember us—to cut us off—from God, from each other, and from who we really are. His enchantment keeps us from remembering. Satan lies to Eve saying, “God is holding out on you; God doesn’t have your best interest at heart.” She eats the forbidden fruit, and is cut off.
As we look to the New Year, many of us make resolutions for future behavior. Maybe we’ll eat less or pray more. And many of us—like me—have failed so many past resolutions that we ignore the annual opportunity—we simply don’t want one more failure on our record.
Why have we failed to keep so many past New Year’s resolutions? Is it because we don’t desire health? Of course not. It’s because we lack the power—the persistent motivation—to pursue these desires; we lack the joy and hope. We’ve been dismembered. Satan lies to us saying, “God is holding out on us, God doesn’t have our best interest at heart.” And we go elsewhere for comfort. We forget, we are cut off from, the truth that Christ is more than we can ask or imagine; he is all we need.
For New Year’s, may I suggest this year we decide … to Remember.
In scripture, remembering is more powerful than mere recalling; remembering always means powerful action and healing wholeness (re-membering!). Here are a few examples of God remembering:
- Then God remembered Rachel … and opened her womb. (Gen. 30:22).
- And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her … and in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. (1 Samuel 1:19-20)
- I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel … and I have remembered my covenant … and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery. (Ex. 6:5-6)
God also calls us to remember, because true remembering means powerful action and healing wholeness:
- As God instructs the Israelites on the night of the Passover, he says, “This day shall be for you a day of remembrance, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever. (Exodus 12:14)
- When Jesus instructed the disciples on celebration of the Lord’s Supper, he said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
Remembering what God has done for us brings healing and power; it re-members us—it reunites us—with God, with each other, and with who God has made us to be.
G. K. Chesterton wrote, “All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful instant we remember that we forget.” He is saying that our moments of joy and ecstasy can lead us to remember that we have forgotten (been dismembered or cut off) from the full life of joy and ecstasy that is meant for us.
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