Not all divine services are the same. I can remember some impulses years later. And then there are those where it is difficult to remember the essential points, even on the way home. What was it all about again?
"We need an incentive to remember things and recall them," said Axel Föllinger, a priest from southern Germany, on Saturday afternoon in his workshop on mnemonics. "I've been driving the same way to work for years. Every day I see the same road signs, but I still do not have them in my head. "That's because we can memorize extraordinary things - especially emotional, funny or painful information. It is more difficult with everyday things like the traffic signs on the way to work.
What incentive do I have to make more out of a divine service? "Being a Christian begins in everyday life when the divine service is over", reminded Föllinger at the beginning of the workshop. It is our task to recognize and link core ideas during a divine service, so that we can take them into our daily lives. An aid is the mnemonics. Since 2013, Axel Föllinger has been working intensively on the art of memory, which has been used since ancient times. The trick: information is thoughtfully converted in mnemonic devices and put into an order.
Step 1: Create anchor points
To apply the mnemonic technique, it takes a natural order that is easy to remember. Axel Föllinger showed how it works. He made 10 anchor points, which he can link with impulses. His technique: a tour of his congregation. (1) showcase at the entrance, (2) Deacon at the door, (3) cloakroom, (4) offering box, (5) organ, (6) hymnbook, (7) altar, (8) bible, (9) paten, (10) emblem.
Step 2: Create an image database in the Brain
How do you remember an impulse from a sermon or a lecture? By connecting information with a picture. It is sufficient to remember a keyword to remember the overall context. Example: An impulse is about Christian values. Which picture then appears in your head? What do you associate with this information? For example, for em> values, it could be the image of a treasure chest. There is no right or wrong; everyone builds their own personal image database in their heads.
Step 3: Link images and anchor points
In the third step you connect the picture to the first anchor point. Example: In the showcase in front of the church is a treasure chest. This principle is continued with the further impulses of a divine service or a lecture. The individual images (step 2) are stored in the previously defined order (step 1). The result is a story with many individual mnemonic devices which can later be recalled more easily.
Step 4: Try and do not give up
Mnemonics needs practice. "You have to get involved and want to learn it. Do not fret if it does not work the first time", Axel Föllinger encouraged. In this sense, I plan to make the first step this weekend and consider my anchor points list for the closing divine service of the Youth Convention.
The Practice Test
For worship, I choose a list of body parts and start with five anchor points: (1) feet, (2) knees, (3) hips, (4) heart, (5) ears. Incidentally, I did not have the opening hymn on the screen before. The lyrics express the request to God to help us use our abilities and talents in God's sense. It says, for example, "Take my eyes, that they see clearly what will be, is and was." I am very happy about this parallel and start motivated in my first divine service with mnemonics.
- First impulse: At the beginning of the service, the Chief Apostle takes up the double perspective of the IYC motto. "Here I am". I'm here. But God is here too. That suits me for my first anchor point - the feet. I associate "Here I am" with being present, taking a stand and standing on one's own feet.
- Second Impulse: As a Christian community, we want to share the love that God has given to each individual. With the love of God, I connect a picture of hands that always catch me. And connect this picture to my second anchor point - the knees.
- Third impulse: Now it becomes concrete. What does it mean to share and pass on the love of God? How did Jesus demonstrate this? He accepted every human being, not in categories like poor or rich, young or old, sick or healthy. In front of me, there is a picture of drawers in which people like to be. I staple the drawers to the pockets of my third anchor point - the hips.
- Fourth Impulse: When we pass on the love of God, it also means that we share joy and suffering, help one another, pray for one another. In that case, my association will again coincide with my next anchor point - the heart.
- Fifth Impulse: Praying for one another, assisting our neighbor in thought is good. But sharing and passing on the love of God needs action. To take action, to act, to tackle. There are different pictures of physical work in my head. Plant flowers, build a cabinet, carry a suitcase. I move away from the concept and spontaneously create a new anchor point - the hands.
- Sixth Impulse: The Chief Apostle reminds the great IYC congregation to seek fellowship. Talking to each other, exchanging - not only digitally, but also in real life, face-to-face. This impulse fits another anchor, which I create spontaneously, the mouth.
- Seventh Impulse: Passing on and sharing the love of God is a task that unites all Christian churches. In front of me emerges the image of a vision that arises in our brain - I connect this impulse with the anchor point head.
- Eighth Impulse: In his serving District Apostle Michael Deppner recalls another feature of how Jesus shared his love. He points out that Jesus washed his disciples' feet and served all in this sense - including Judas, the disciple, who would later betray him. Jesus knew this, and yet he washed Judas' feet. Jesus looks further, is the impulse from the divine service. He already knew that his disciple would take his life and need salvation. Looking ahead, changing perspectives - I connect this impulse with another anchor, the eyes.
My conclusion: it's worth trying out! I did not even make a note of it in the closing divine service of IYC, although I should write an article about my self-experiment. From an editorial point of view, a no-go or at least pretty daring. Especially, since I write down everything else I really want to record - the Notes file in my smartphone is never ending. This article about my self-experiment is based only on my memory. And that's a pretty cool feeling!