The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) has a suggestion for how to spend some of your free time during the pandemic: memorize verses of Scripture together!
On March 25, Director of LCMS Worship and International Center (IC) Chaplain Rev. Sean Daenzer issued the Psalm 91 Challenge over LCMS social media, encouraging members of the Synod to memorize the psalm over a couple of weeks.
LCMS Communications decided to take the opportunity to launch a memory initiative that had been in the works for several months.
“Psalm 1 teaches us that it is blessed to meditate on the Word of God day and night,” said Dr. Kevin Armbrust, director of Editorial for LCMS Communications. “We in Communications had been talking about providing a Bible passage each week for the Synod to meditate on and memorize together. Our unity is in Christ and in His Word, so we wanted to provide an opportunity for the people of the LCMS to be united in memorizing Scripture.
“When Chaplain Daenzer started encouraging us to memorize some psalms, we knew this was the perfect opportunity to begin posting a weekly memory verse.”
Starting the first week of Easter, a new memory verse will be added weekly at lcms.org/memoryverse and shared on LCMS social media, including its Facebook page, facebook.com/TheLCMS..
The verses will be selected primarily from the Gospels and epistles. Most of the selections will be short, just one or two verses at a time.
Daenzer said that memorizing Scripture is a valuable practice for Christians, even in a digital age.
“We’re so connected with everything digitally, and we have information at our fingertips,” Daenzer said. “But if that were to ever go out, what would we know? Almost nothing.
“When Jonah was in the belly of the whale, it was too late to pull out his Bible. It was too late to grab his catechism and his hymnal. … The great Song of Jonah in Chapter 2 is nothing but pieces of the psalms stitched together. They’re his childhood memory verses and bedtime prayers that he was able to use in the total darkness of the whale to pray faithfully, to bring God’s Word to bear on his situation, and to comfort himself in the midst of great distress.
“And that’s exactly why we learn the Scriptures now: We never know when persecution may come, when technology or even access to Bibles and churches may go away. We’re getting a taste of that now in the quarantine time. So, it drives home the point that we need to have Scripture … on our hearts and our minds.”
Tips for effective memorization from Chaplain Daenzer
Small, short bites, repeated many times, are way better than one giant “cram” session. Take two minutes every night and say it through twice together, or once in the morning and once in the evening.
Music always helps us to memorize more easily and then to retain it. Sing anything that can be sung, either to a tune you know, or to a simple tone like one of the psalm tones in the hymnal.
If you have a Bible translation that you’ve started memorizing in, don’t feel like you have to switch translations whenever a new one comes along. Whatever you’re familiar with will be just fine.