Without this little, three-syllable word, Spock’s death in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan would have been permanent.
Think about that for a minute.
If the iconic Vulcan (Leonard Nimoy) hadn’t uttered this little command during a quickie mind-meld with longtime frenemy Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelly), we’d have missed out on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
That would have meant we’d never have met Klingons played by Doc Brown of Back to the Future and Dan Fielding of Night Court. We’d also have been deprived of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, in which Commander Chekov asks 1980s San Franciscans about the location of ‘nuclear wessels,’ and Captain Kirk brilliantly retorts at an indignant motorist, ‘Double dumb-ass on YOU!‘
For that matter, if Spock had stayed dead in 1982, I’m not sure there’d have been any more Star Trek movies, TV series or reboots. No Picard. No Worf. No Seven of Nine. Zachary Quinto would be forever remembered as That Villain from That Superhero Show, instead of Spock 2.0.
‘Remember’ is clearly a powerful word.
Just think of all the movie and song titles that use The R-Word: An Affair to Remember. A Walk to Remember. A Christmas to Remember. Remember the Name. Remember the Time. Remember the Titans. Remember the Alamo.
And a few thousand years before Spock was even a glimmer in the eyes of the three guys who created Star Trek (Gene, Rod and Barry), the authors of the Bible were well aware of the power of ‘remember’.
As I said in my last post, author Glennon Doyle Melton purports that ‘remember’ is the second-most repeated phrase in the Bible – right after ‘Don’t be afraid‘.
And she might be right. According to a few Bible Gateway quick searches, ‘remember‘ occurs in the New International Version, 231 times. ‘Recall‘ pops up seven times. And ‘forget‘ occurs 64 times – including 22 occurrences of the phrase ‘do not forget‘.
Whether that makes ‘remember’ the first runner up in this pageant or not, there’s no doubt that ‘remember’ is a powerful theme in the Good Book. Here are a few examples:
- Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. – Genesis 30:22
- “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ – Joshua 1:13
- These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants. – Esther 9:28
- “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. – Jonah 2:7
- Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept. – Mark 14:72
- I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. – 2 Timothy 1:3
- The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. – Revelation 16:19
God remembers us (for better, in the case of Rachel in Genesis, and for the worse, in the case of Babylon in Revelation).
We remember God. We remember what happened in the past. We remember each other in our prayers.
All important uses of The R-Word.
But in the Psalms, we find an approach to this word that I find a little startling:
- Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. – Psalm 25:6
- Remember the nation you purchased long ago, the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed— Mount Zion, where you dwelt. – Psalm 74:2
- Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them – Psalm 106:4
- Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. – Psalm 119:49
These psalmists are sending reminders to God.
Does it strike you as odd – inappropriate and irreverent, even – that human beings feel the need to remind a perfect God with a perfect memory (and a perfect temper) of anything? That’s a level of audacity and presumptuousness that you’d think would provoke the irritation and even the wrath of the most powerful Being in the universe.
And yet, God doesn’t seem flummoxed by these uses of The R-Word. Could it be that God likes it when we remind Him of things?
A question worth pondering … next time.
Peace be with you.