In this episode, we consider the readings for Proper 24 (Year C in the lectionary cycle): Luke 18:1-8; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Psalm 119:97-104; Jeremiah 31:27-34.
We begin with Jesus' parable of the persistent widow and discuss how his story upends our preconceptions about God's accessibility and invites hopeful, trusting engagement in prayer. We consider Paul's timely guidance for staying focused and faithful, rooted in the Scriptures. We talk about the transformative impact of memorizing Scripture and the Psalmist's love for God's life-giving words. And we end with a lot of questions about Jeremiah's words.
There are a lot of useful resources out there for memorizing Scripture. There are apps where you can record yourself saying passages, "games" where you can fill in the blanks, sites where you can type out verses, all sorts of techniques that you may find useful, but it doesn't have to be complicated. Here's what I've found to be helpful:
--Select a passage you personally want to learn.
--Consider the reality of your daily life. Sometimes memorizing a longer ambitious passage is feasible, but regularly working on various disparate passages (e.g. focus on a smaller single-verse passage every two weeks) may be more doable.
--Write or print out the passage. Laminate it if you love office products (like I do!) or find a way to jot it down and carry a notecard around with you.
--Look for times during your day (or night!) when you can recite the passage to yourself. Repeat it audibly. Try to say it without looking. Go back and check yourself. Keep repeating it.
--Note "anchors" within the passage that can help stay grounded in the flow of thought - these may become especially meaningful to you as they pair with memories from your daily life at this time.
--Every time you review your memory work, add a phrase or sentences.
--Soon, the "new" phrases that you had to check every few words will become "old" familiar ones, tucked away in your memory, as you continue to build.
--That's it! Like any muscle, it will grow with use. At first, you may find it takes two weeks to learn a verse, but as you proceed, it will become easier.
--Some passages (like Psalm 119) may be easier to memorize, because they've been designed with rhetorical "anchors." For instance, knowing there is a cohesive thought centered around four verses makes it easier to memorize.
Our outro music is an original song by our friend Dcn. Jeremiah Webster, a poet and professor whose giftedness is rivaled by his humbleness. You can find his published works, including After So Many Fires, with a quick Google.