Sermon quotes on memory

Daniel G. Amen

Memory is the fabric of our souls. It enables us to integrate and make sense of the experiences of our bodies, minds, and spirits. It makes us who we are and allows us to keep our loved ones close, even when they are far away. Memory houses our joys, our hurts, and all of life’s lessons.

Memory Rescue: Supercharge Your Brain, Reverse Memory Loss, and Remember What Matters Most, Tyndale House Publishers.

John Banville

The past beats inside me like a second heart.

The Sea

J.M. Barrie 

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.

A Window In Thrums

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.

Letters and Papers from Prison, Simon and Schuster, 2011, p.79, 

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.

On the Orator, 55 B.C.


Emily Dickinson

The Props assist the House

Until the House is built

And then the Props withdraw

And adequate, erect,

The House support itself

And cease to recollect

The Auger and the Carpenter—

Just such a retrospect

Hath the perfected Life—

A past of Plank and Nail

And slowness—then the Scaffolds drop

Affirming it a Soul.

The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R.W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)


George Duhamel

Sometimes you will never know the value of something, until it becomes a memory.

Te Heart’s Domain

George Eliot

O may I join the choir invisible

Of those immortal dead who live again

In minds made better by their presence; live

In pulses stirred to generosity,

In deeds of daring rectitude…” 

O May I Join the Choir Invisible! And Other Favourite Poems

Thomas Fuller 

Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved.

The Holy State and the Profane State, 1840, p.140.

Thomas Fuller

Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.

L.P. Hartley

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

The Go-Between

Barbara Kingsolver

It’s surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.

Barbara Kingsolver

Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.

Animal Dreams

Woodrow Kroll 

Nothing cures ingratitude as quickly as a good memory.

Lessons On Living from Exodus 

Milan Kundera

The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”


Abraham Lincoln

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.

Anita Loos 

Memory is more indelible than ink.

Lois Lowry

The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.

The Giver

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.

Quoted in Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way Daring Path into the Abundant Life, Zondervan.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.

The Story Girl

John Newton

My memory is almost gone, but I remember two things; that I am a great sinner, and Christ is a Great Savior.

Quoted in John Pollock’s Amazing Grace: John Newton’s Story (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.



Friedrich Nietzsche 

Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders. 

Gordon Olson

Everything we do proceeds from a decision of will, involves our intelligence and perception, leads to emotional reactions or experiences, is approved or disapproved by the conscience, and is registered in the memory in complete perspective. 

Marcel Proust 

Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.

Marilynne Robinson

“Memory can make a thing seem to have been much more than it was.”

Gilead: A Novel

Cesare Pavese 

We do not remember days, we remember moments.

Alma Elizabeth Murch, This Business of Living, Transaction Publishers


James Stalker 

Augustine says that we may, out of our dead sins, make stepping stones to rise to the heights of perfection. What did he mean by that? He meant that the memory of our falls may breed in us such a humility, such a distrust of self, such a constant clinging to Christ as we could never have had without the experience of our own weakness.

Chuck Swindoll 

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.

Mark Twain

A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.

Mark Twain

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

Notebook, 1894

Justine Olawsky

Remember. It is probably the greatest biblical exhortation… after “love.”

Miroslav Volf

When we remember the past, it is not only the past; it breaks into the present and gains a new lease on life.

The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World

Frederick Buechner

Maybe the most sacred function of memory is just that: to render the distinction between the past, present, and future ultimately meaningless: to enable us at some level of our being to inhabit that same eternity which it is said that God himself inhabits.

Telling Secrets


Dory (Ellen DeGeneres)

“I remember it like it was yesterday. Of course, I don’t really remember yesterday all that well.”

Finding Dory

Marilynne Robinson

I believe there are visions that come to us only in memory, in retrospect.

Gilead, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2004, p.6-7.

A.J. Swoboda

Remembering is a godly act — time and again retrieving the truth of God in the present. Perhaps this is why St. Paul constantly “reminds” the early churches of the gospel of Jesus — the church is the one that so easily forgets it. God’s people are indeed saved from their sins. But apparently not from a bad memory.

Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World, Baker Publishing Group, 2018, Location 249.

Sir Norman Wisdom

As you get older, three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.

Andrew Murray

Memory is one of the highest powers in our nature. By it day is linked to day, the unity of life through all our years is kept up, and we know that we are still ourselves. In the spiritual life, recollection is of infinite value. For the sanctifying of our memory, in the service of our spiritual life, God has provided most beautifully. The Holy Spirit is the remembrancer, the Spirit of recollection. Jesus said, “He shall bring all things to your remembrance.”

Abide in Christ, p.85.

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Memory. 

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