My second daughter was asking me this morning about her belly button. "Was I naked inside Mommy's belly?" And I explained to her that the umbilical cord fed her and helped her to "breathe." Our belly buttons are marks on our bodies that remind us where we came from, where we began. Reminders like that are important for us. We have such terrible memories.
The Bible is a series of markers. Throughout their history, the Israelites set up markers, that they might remember the extraordinary mercies and works of God. And they were able to say, "Hey, if you don't believe me, go look at the 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan - they're still there." When questioned about the Trinity, it is good and appropriate to simply say, "Go to the Jordan." Not for the 12 stones, but because all three persons of the Godhead are present at Jesus' baptism. Other literature serves the same purpose. And markers are one of the things I love about stories. I can remember stories.
I wear a wedding band. I take pictures. I read books. Yea, verily, I even blog. These are some of the things I have and do in order to remember. Memory instructs us how to live, and it instructs us how to hope when we feel hopeless.
Scheduled to be burned at the stake, Polycarp, who we believe knew the apostle John and was the bishop of Smyrna, was begged to recant and deny his faith in Christ that he might live. Polycarp responded, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?"