Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Memory Care

Tomorrow evening I'm planning on giving a test or quiz during our Youth YDT. I'm hoping our youth have learned something so far this school year. (**See bottom of this post.)

Does God give quizzes? Some folks joke about questions people need to answer before getting to heaven. (Like this clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.) Christians sometimes imagine that too, saying that we need to give the right answer...

The trouble with quizzes and tests is that sometimes I'm forgetful. Sometimes I'm distracted. Sometimes I'm rebellious. If I need to give a right answer, and if everything is riding on it, that leaves me in a very rough spot.

I was thinking of this yesterday when I was at Lakeview Ranch to share the Word of God and the Lord's Supper. Does God's grace really depend on my intellectual ability to understand and remember it? If so, those with memory loss or dementia are in trouble!

Instead of judging those are forgetful, distracted or rebellious, God comes to love them and to do everything possible to help them know they are loved. That's why we celebrate Christmas. At Christmas, God's Word reminds that God remembered us sent his Son to love us. Truth be told, we are never forgotten. We may forget the Lord, but he never forgets us.

So, when it comes to teaching, I try to do it in a way that gives youth and adults a reason to trust God. Nothing we do as a church is done to somehow scare people into God's kingdom. It's good for youth to remember the Lord, but we want to have them remember God as he remembers us, with love and ready to free us from the terrors of our enemies.

When we share the Lord's Supper, we do so to can remember what God has done for us. Communion is a powerful reminder of our Lord's love--see this comment for a testimony on that. For those who have shared it often, it can break through the haze of memory loss or pain to make sure we know God's love in much the same a way as did the thief on the cross. That's where the emphasis needs to be.

Yes, we will have a quiz tomorrow night. But its purpose, instead of getting kids and their parents to give right answers as if somehow God loves them more that way--the quiz's purpose is to give them another opportunity to remember the mercies of God.
** ADDED WEDNESDAY EVENING... The actual quiz was open book. They could use their Bible and Catechism. So for those who looked at the preview and thought it was too tough... it wasn't... and the kids got plenty of clues... If you want to see the actual quiz itself, it's available as a pdf here. You can also see all of the home Bible studies on this page.

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