Based on Luke 4:18–19
I used to see him frequently during shut-in visits. Each time it would get a little worse. He would forget my name, then he would forget who I was. Then he forgot his name and who he was. At the end, it was as if his body forgot how to tell his lungs to breath and his heart to beat, and he died. Alzheimers, they called it.
I remember a football practice when our running back received a particularly vicious hit. He came and sat on the bench with a frightened look on his face. Finally he took hold of the helmet I was holding in my hand and looked me straight in the face and said, “Can you tell me who I am?” Amnesia, brought on by a concussion, they called it.
In the book of Numbers, after the people of Israel have been wandering for awhile and have been fed with heavenly food called manna, we have this interesting passage, “The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!’” They remembered the food they ate but they forgot that they received the food free because they were slaves and had to get their food free because their whole life was forfeit. They suffered momentary amnesia, some have said, brought on by stress and boredom.
In John 8:31–33 we have this interesting exchange between Jesus and people whose entire life, religion, and emotional identity came from the fact that their fathers had been slaves in Egypt. Their entire being came from the fact that God had freed them from bondage and brought them out of Egypt with a strong arm and a mighty hand. Listen to this: “31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ 33They answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’” They suffered cultural amnesia, some have called it, brought on by sin.
Lot’s of words used to explain lots of things. What kind of amnesia are we suffering in the church and the culture and the world? How much have we forgotten about grace and mercy and why did we forget?