Abraham's Tent

A SMOTJ Web Magazine

In this short article, Fr. Forbes writes of the importance that remembering (in the deepest sense) plays in the role of the three great monotheistic faiths. To understand the viewpoint of each religion, one must grasp that element: For Jews, the memory of the Exodus; for Christians, the Crucifixion and Resurrection; for Muslims the Hajj.


Remember When

Fr. Michael Forbes

The function of remembering is not only the stuff of ballads. It belongs also to the business of citizenship. We remember events, ideas and persons and internalize these to form the acts of a good citizen. .
For the families of Abraham, this is terribly important. At the time of the vernal full moon, two members of Abraham’s family (Jew and Christian) exercise a very special form of memory as they celebrate salvation events. This form of memory is designated by the Greek word anamnesis, a special kind of memory. The word literally means not forgetting. .
In the special kind of memory that is characteristic of this season, we contemplate the events that mean salvation for our people. We do not simply remember these events the way we remember a news story. We remember them so vividly that we enter, through anamnesis into the pivotal narrative. We become slaves in Egypt and know deliverance at the hand of God. In the celebration of Holy Eucharist we remember the great acts of Jesus in such a way that we can enter into them and experience the full saving force of those works within ourselves. When confronted with the question: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? We can affirm that we were and it made all the difference. For the third branch of the sons of Abraham, the process is carried out in a very different manner. In Islam the salvation event, in history, is the exile and triumphant return of the Prophet played out between Mecca and Medina. The story is dramatic and of such importance that every Moslem is enjoined to become a pilgrim to the Holy Cities and perform the Hajj, a set of ritual enactments which, in part, are pre- Islamic, but mostly commemorate the acts of the Prophet and provide the pilgrim believers the opportunity of entering into the salvation acts of the Islamic community. .
This kind of remembering changes individuals. We identify with our Holy History and with the acts that made us holy. Through anamnesis, we take on the identity of our household and we share the struggles and victories in community with every generation, gone before and coming afterward. We are made a part of a people and that people is raised up by God and made special and promised all the Good things that belong to sharing holy memory..
The Rev. Chev. Michael P. Forbes GCTJ, OHS

Jeffrey Peter Agnes
LTC Thomas P. Curtis II
Contributing Editors
Rev. Michael P. Forbes
David D. Fautua
Readers are encouraged to write in letters to the editor with questions and observations at the following address: tent@smotj.org

Judaism is a monotheistic religion, with the Torah as its foundational text (part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible), and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Mishnah and the Talmud. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God established with the Children of Israel.

Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur'an, a book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: Allāh) and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570 BC – c. 8 June 632 AD), considered by them to be the last prophet of God.

Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament. Most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human, and the saviour of humanity whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament. Consequently, Christians refer to Jesus as "Christ" or the Messiah.