My classmates and I did a lot of memorizing as children. Not only did we learn the multiplication tables for math, we had memory work every morning for religion class. We learned A LOT of Bible verses! (One thing that was never stressed when we did our Bible verses for the day, was their location in the Bible. I have often wished I had learned that, especially now that I have a greater understanding of the Bible as a whole. Knowing that a verse came from Isaiah, or Daniel, or the Psalms in the Old Testament, or from Matthew, John, or Galations in the New Testament puts a whole new layer of understanding on the verse.)
Other than that shortcoming, I have been blessed by this learning. So many of those verses have come to mind just when I needed to hear them.
"Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You."
These verses roll out of my mind freely, words of inspiration and comfort, ready to minister to any need at any moment of any day.
We learned hymns as well as Bible verses. I know a lot of hymns. (All the verses of many of them. When I find myself singing, "Feed Thy Children God Most Holy," I look at the clock and realize it is nearing suppertime.) Everything we need to know about our Christian faith is summed up in the six chief parts of Luther's Small Catechism, and we memorized all of it, right along with Luther's explainations for each section. (This is most certainly true.)
Our children went to parochial school, too. Reciting memory work was the last thing they did before hustling out the door for school. An old saying goes, "Memorization is the key to learning." Are your children being steeped in this most important discipline? Are they hiding God's word in their hearts where it can never be taken from them? God's word my not be so freely available in times to come. Are you feeding yourselves and your children a steady diet of God's Word while you can?
Paul and I read Haley's Bible Commentary along with scripture, and when we got to his notes on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7, Haley said, "Every Christian should know the Sermon on the Mount by heart." Wow, I thought. That's a tall order. And then, as we read those three chapters, I realized that I had memorized almost every one of those verses at one time or another, just not in the order they appear in that sermon. Those of you who went to parochial school, as did I, check it out.
I think I am up to the challenge. How about it? Who wants to memorize the Sermon on the Mount with me?
I dare you.
I double dare you.