Local view: Keep faith in right placeIn the grand scheme of things, perhaps it doesn’t even merit a mention. But it did create so much hassle that it was like losing the use of a limb for what seemed like a long time.
By: Rev. Michael Lyons, for the News-Chronicle
In the grand scheme of things, perhaps it doesn’t even merit a mention. But it did create so much hassle that it was like losing the use of a limb for what seemed like a long time.
The hard drive on my laptop crashed. And with it went many years of files, homily notes, contact info, and all of the other essentials that are required in this digital age. Fortunately, I had an automatic backup on a satellite drive, but that too was inaccessible until my laptop was repaired.
With so much reliance on technology, I got to wondering about the effect of the internet on the transmission of the Christian faith. As someone who memorized the Catholic Catechism as a youth and who still recalls the many Bible stories I heard as a child, I am impressed by the many internet resources available to enriching Christian spirituality and faith.
I wonder about the ongoing role of memory and memorization in the passing on of the faith itself. And what the outcome might be if the religious resources of the internet were temporarily or even permanently lost.
A recent program in the PBS Nova series reviewed the potential impact of sun storms on our electrical and technological infrastructures. With the help of new spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes, scientists are now seeing the sun as they never have before. Their work may help predict and track solar storms that have the power to zap our power grid, shut down telecommunications, and ground global air travel for days, weeks, or even — as one scientist observed — many years.
Let’s hope further studies in the understanding of our nearest star will help keep our planet from going dark. Still it begs the question as to the wisdom of relying too much on technology for the remembrances that are essential to our faith.
Remembering is at the heart of the gospel message and its events. The Jewish people, from whom Jesus came, were formed by the memories of the mighty deeds of Yahweh. Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and the prophets were formative figures in the life and memory of Israel. Jesus frequently invoked them and established His own mission and identity in relation to them. All of which in turn embodied the final fulfillment of His mission: His return in glory.
It was the remembrances of believers after His resurrection that prepared the way for the recognition of Christ’s new presence. The risen, unlike the historical Jesus, was accessible only to His disciples and friends. His new presence and their remembrance met in that moment of recognition by the doubter Thomas, exclaiming, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)
As my seminary professor used to say, “When loving memory and presence meet, conversion to the full reality of Jesus is made complete.”
This Sunday the Roman Catholic and other Christian traditions celebrate the memorial of the Body and Blood of Christ, a remembrance of his sacrifice on Calvary that he asked us to do and share. (Luke 22: 19-20) Indeed, many remembrances of which that are essential to our growth in faith until he comes again.
Faith is not acquired by simply Google-ing information about it. We will always need the faith of others to guide us, also our remembrances of Christ’s words and deeds in worship. So, if the lights ever go out, be ready to share the Lord’s Word from your heart.
Start memorizing the scriptures and keep your Bible close by just in case.
Rev. Michael Lyons is the pastor at Holy Spirit Church in Two Harbors and St. Mary’s Church in Silver Bay.