“If I forget you O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play the harp. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you, if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy.” Psalm 137:5-6, NLT
“We Can’t Afford To Forget!”
The cost is too great. The burden is too much to bear. These are truths that stare us in the face, reminding every generation of people, that there are some realities, places, and institutions, that can never be forgotten. Some years ago, I stood on a busy street in a seaport town of Israel, where a man I met told me about the horrors of the holocaust. He spoke of both the reprehensible tragedy of genocide, but also of the courage of the survivors. Then, he looked into my eyes and simply said three words: “Never, never, never.” This was both an affirmation and a manifesto of his heart and soul. More so, it spoke of the
loyalty he had for protecting generations going forward. He was a part of a people, who were/are determined that such an atrocity would never occur again. A similar affirmation has come from the heart and hands of James Weldon Johnson and his brother Rosemond. It reminds people of the African diaspora living in America, of another loyalty: “May we forever stand; true to our God, true to our native land.” Our loyalty to God and the place of our ancestors’ origin, is a manifesto that we can’t afford to forget. When the Jews were in exile in Babylon, they had become dispirited and fatigued. Initially, they preferred not to sing the songs of their faith and heritage. However, their spirits were awakened to the fact that they would be met with incapacitation and death if they ignored their God and history. They realized forgetting was neither desirable nor an option. It is through remembering and reciting our history that we live; and that successive generations will have a narrative forward! Yes – we can sing our songs in a strange land! Like the exiles of ancient times, to remember is our life and destiny. To forget is our extinction. We live to remember! Our tongues must not be silenced because the story must be told. The price of forgetting is much too costly to pay.