“St. Wapniacl? What’s that? If you were in grade school in the days of the Depression, you might recognize it as a coined word to help you remember the (then) Departments of the United States Government – which were: State, Treasury, War, Attorney General (Justice), Post office, Navy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. Take the first letter and you have St. Wapniacl, which is a mnemonic, or an aid to memory.
Our lives, past and present are sprinkled with mnemonics. Do you remember?
- “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue”
- “Thirty days has September…”
In school we learned “i before e except after c”. That is very helpful if you can remember the numerous exceptions. And then e-i is pronounced as the long a except in words like weird, height, foreign, leisure, seize, forfeit, neither, and either.
For tests it was always good to know:
- “HOMES” is a great way to remember the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior
- “Every Good Boy Does Fine” helps you remember the lines of a music staff in the treble clef, while “face” gives you the spaces.
If it is critical that you know the height of Mt. Fujiyama in Japan, think of it as a calendar mountain – 12 months, 365 days for 12,365 feet. And yes UCAN remember the names of the four corner states – Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Mnemonics is a word that sometimes turns up in crossword puzzles or is used by advanced Scrabble players. Memory aids are things we use every day. All this leaves one problem: How do you remember how to spell St. Wapniacl?
On a serious note, God has given us fine working computers, our brains, to remember. In God’s Word we are told to “remember” quite a lot. As we start a new year let me encourage you with three Biblical passages:
- “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ…” (Ephesians 2:11-12a) Never forget where God has brought you from. Find ways to force yourself to pause and reflect quite often on what your life was like before you followed Christ. As you begin 2015, analyze the growth God was able to accomplish in your life in 2014.
- Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:8a, “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead…” What can you do to make sure your thoughts are constantly drawn back to Christ? When you feel pride coming on, remember how Christ humbled Himself to come to earth and die for you. When you feel persecuted, remember Christ on the cross for you. When you feel like you can’t handle life, remember Christ walked out of the tomb in power and that He offers that power to you. We need to find some memory aides to help us remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead.
- “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7) God has brought spiritual leaders (pastors, Sunday School teachers, authors of books we read, etc.) into each of our lives. We need to do a better job of remembering what God says to us through their lives and through their messages. We need to remember and apply those truths God reveals to us through them. We need to remember those leaders in our prayers.
Help Us Remember Lord!! Pastor Steve