For the past several years, we have been reciting an “Affirmation of Faith,” usually the Apostle’s Creed, every Sunday in The Bridge. The Apostle’s Creed is an ancient list of many of the beliefs of our religion, and it’s a concise way to memorize the “Christian basics.” I have so enjoyed hearing you all read the Apostle’s Creed aloud together each week- especially our kids! And most of you have been saying it aloud for so long that you have it memorized now.
Because most of you have the Apostle’s Creed pretty well memorized, we’ve decided to use that time in the worship service to read and learn something even more important: scripture. So near the beginning of every service, we will read a particular passage of scripture every Sunday until we have it memorized. I will judge “we have it memorized” to be when there are five people- children, youth, or adults- who can recite the passage to me in any version.
The reason I believe this is so important for us to do is that as Christians, we will not always have our Bibles with us. Even if we know the substance of our Bibles well, there is no substitute for having scripture memorized and being able to recall it, in an instant, no matter where we are or what circumstance we are facing. Psalm 119:11 says, “I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.” And the book of Deuteronomy instructs us to “fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds.” (11:18)
If we memorize scripture, it becomes a part of us and can never be taken away from us, no matter how far from a physical Bible we may be.
So for now, we will be reading and learning Psalm 23 together (“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”). And when we have memorized Psalm 23 we will move on to another passage, to write it in our hearts and minds, to treasure it as a part of who we are. I invite you to work on memorizing each passage at home, and if you have children, help them to learn it too. And when you learn Psalm 23, come see me. When five of you have committed it to memory, we will learn the next passage and have even more of God’s word to carry with us.