Last week Jeff and I listened to Richard Rohr interviewed by Krista Tippett on the On Being podcast.
We noticed how he often quoted lofty authors like Thomas Merton or Latin poets or foreign phrases like “Sub specie aeternitatis” (“in the light of eternity”).
How do people do that?
Well, we all can quote things. It depends on what we put in.
What goes in is what we quote out.
Jeff and I can quote all the words to . . .
- Gilligan’s Island theme song (“If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost”),
- famous sayings of Fred Sanford (“This is the big one, Elizabeth. I’m coming to join you, Honey”),
- and lots of lyrics from rock classics of the ’70s (“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair”).
Likely he can. I don’t know.
This is what I do know: years ago when I heard an “ordinary” lady at church spill God-truths out of her mouth like I could sing song lyrics, it moved me.
Granted, I knew my memory verses growing up. Bible Bowls and sword drills? Bring on the competition.
But I wanted something different. I wanted line after line of God’s beauty and love. Words I could say in my mind, over and over.
Words I could quote when I needed to think better thoughts and believe bigger truths.
So with a group of friends in 2004, we committed to memorizing Colossians 3 together.
And now, 13 years later, I’m going to renew those words in my mind with the memorizing community of Hide His Word with Do Not Depart.
And those 13 years in between? I learned that memorizing chapters of the Bible wasn’t as impossible as I had once thought. [See “10 Tips to Memorizing a Bible Chapter” ]
And the benefits have been life-changing.
How many times have I been awake at night and recited a chapter over and over to help me return to peaceful sleep? Or said the words in my mind while undergoing a medical procedure? Or prayed the words to myself or for a friend when other words seemed to fail?
- “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
- “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”
- “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
I’m thankful that I don’t remember all the words I’ve learned in my past. There are many that I didn’t need to hear to begin with.
But the words from Jesus’s mouth or words about God’s everlasting love are words that I want to remember.
Time spent memorizing isn’t time wasted, but time invested.
If you’d like to join us in this no-pressure challenge, choose from two options:
- (A) memorize all the verses in Colossians 3:1-17, one to two verses a week, or
- (B) memorize five of the best verses in Colossians 3, one verse every two weeks.
We’ll begin May 1. You can sign up today. You’ll receive resources to print and short email reminders on Monday mornings.
I may never be able to quote things as well as Richard Rohr. But when I do quote, I want it to be good.
14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
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Do you have favorite authors or movie lines or song lyrics that you remember well? Any favorite memory verses? Please share in the comments.
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