Hidden in Memory

Isaiah 64: 1-9

“When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence…”

Our spiritual lives are lived in the present. Our faith, by contrast, is formed through layer upon layer of memories from the past. Like the geological history evident in dramatic rock formations, the experiences of our days pile up and shape our perspectives on life and God.

Sometimes we actively call to mind the memories of the Spirit working in our lives. And sometimes we act as if we have amnesia. Forgetting can get us into trouble and leave us anxious and confused. Memory can restore our peace in the present.

What do we know that we need to remember today?

The people of Israel knew about memory. When things were at their worst for the nation, when the land of promise had been lost, the temple had been destroyed, and the people carried into exile, Israel’s prophets did not allow the people to forget their history with God. Isaiah 63 and 64 remind the people of God’s saving power and the covenant reaching back in time to Abraham.

In fact, the prophets did not let God forget the past either: “When you did awesome deeds…” it says in Isaiah, “you came down” (to Mount Sinai) and “the mountains quaked at your presence.”

But now? They demanded to know. Where are you now? “You have hidden your face from us.”¬†Into God’s silence, the prophet spoke. “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father… we are all the work of your hand.”

Sometimes, maybe most of the time, God is silent. It is then, more than ever, that we might open our eyes and open our ears to memory.¬† God’s faithfulness remains, and if we look closely, and look back, we will see it written into our own histories. God’s presence may be hidden in this present moment, but God has surely done awesome deeds that we did not expect in each one of our lives.



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