Views from the Pews: Memories shape the way we are

Rev Neville Simpson.
Rev Neville Simpson.

I was contacted about a school reunion with the prospect of meeting people I’ve not seen for 40 years and off I go down memory lane.

I suspect we all spend more time reminiscing than we care to admit.

The Market Weighton Methodist Church.

The Market Weighton Methodist Church.

It happens at unusual times and can be triggered by events; familiar smells, the odd word and memories flood back.

Sometimes they are warm and comforting, and other times distressing and jarring, but whichever effect they have, they often makes us think of what is important to us.

Memories are not only personal, they are communal and even national, so when we meet we often say: “Do you remember when…”

We are in a time of national remembering. Firstly, 5 November when we remember the gunpowder plot in 1605 when Guy Fawkes was arrested whilst guarding explosives placed beneath the House of Lords.

To celebrate the survival of King James I people lit bonfires. We still have the bonfires and fireworks but the memory has no impact on our life.

Contrast this with the 11 November when we will individually, as a community and as a nation, remember those who have laid down their life for our country and our freedom.

You cannot help but be touched by the costliness and tragedy of it and by those who served and gave their lives for their country.

Consequently we will remember them and give thanks.

I suspect part of our emotional response to memories is based on the impact of that event on our life.

They shape us and make us the person we are today as we remember we learn and try to live differently.

Jesus spent a lot of time telling stories about a wayward son or a Good Samaritan to help people remember about the love of God and how we love our neighbour by living life differently. Jesus also said: “Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:12-14)

May we remember the love that meant Jesus Christ came to live amongst us and even die for us and seek to live a life that transforms this world by love.