Memory and Hope

Written by Rev. Dr Chris Walker

Kennon Callahan said, “Memory is strong but hope is stronger.” These words captured my attention years ago and still do.

While memory is very important we live more on the basis of hope. We are creatures who look to the future. We want the future to be better and different than the past. Memories do often provide us with motivation, positive or negative, for the future. But we cannot live in the past. We live in the present looking to the future.

Individuals and nations can let past events and injustices be their driving motivations. While it is understandable that people and groups who have been badly mistreated can hold on to their resentments, it is unfortunate if this is their dominating motivation. However what is needed is not simply a matter of seeking to forget the past or even moving on from it without acknowledging it appropriately. Truth telling is important so what happened is acknowledged and recognized for what it was.

South Africa led the way as a nation in this with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. What happened during the Apartheid era could not be moved on from until the injustices and suffering were openly acknowledged. For many that was enough. They did not even expect reparations of some sort. They did want their suffering and loss to be heard and appreciated. They could not bring back loved ones who had died but they did want to remember them and what they went through. They wanted the memories to be accurate and not ignored or covered up. Then they could move on.

This is an extract from Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship National Consultant Rev. Dr Chris Walker's blog, get the full story →