Our souls have memory. I don’t mean the type of memory that can locate where my car keys are laid or the appointments of last week. The memory of soul is different from the rational reminders that keep our lives in order. A different type of memory, but memory none the less. Our souls record and recall the experience of our spiritual journey. Our pilgrimage is mapped in our deep places. Each of you can extract from these places, what it feels like to be close to God. You remember the comfort of His voice, the gentleness of His hand, the pleasure of His purposes.
Our soul holds to these memories as much as our mind holds to the laughter of a beloved or our body recalls a satisfying meal. With both means, either soul or body, we are not simply recording events, but the memory of them is intended to give us hope and movement. The memory of a beloved voice moves us to connect with them again. The flash back of a turkey dinner creates appetite for the one to come. Mental recall and physical retrospect arouse us towards fresh experience. They are not simply past events but foundation for the ones to come. Memory is to move us.
But, when it comes to soul memory, we are prone to stand still. We tend to live off of our soul’s memory and allow the recollection of past peace to suffice for our present needs. Because we can pull out of our memory what it felt like to be close to God, we use the recall of it to suffice for today. We coast on what has been. But all coasting eventually comes to a halt. The memory of God’s past grace was never meant to supply the needed grace for today. I can no more be sustained by yesterday’s experience of God than I can be fed by yesterday’s dinner. The taste of yesterday cannot feed me today. It can and does raise hope and longing for the meals to come.
If all this sounds complicated and mystic - let me be clearer. As of late, I have been coasting too much on God’s past nearness. I have the lingering of His grace and reach back to the memory of it. My soul remembers but has stood still. Just as I cannot be fed by yesterday’s meals, nor rested by yesterday’s sleep, I can’t use memory of grace as a substitute for grace. My soul’s memory is meant to move me towards the grace available for today. The memory plants a seed of hopeful longing that reaches for grace to come. Soul memory is meant to move us in our spiritual journey towards God.
So, if your soul recalls the kindness of God’s hand and the whisper of His love, thank Him for it! But do not live on it. Like manna, God always has more to give.