The phone rang and it was my dad. Interrupting our coffee conversation, I told my friend Sonya that I would need to take the call. It had happened. We knew my mother’s days were coming to an end and still the phone call came as a shock. It was September 13, 2008. Ten years ago today. I remember- where I was and who I was with.
This past week on September 11 folks posted memories and memorials, remembrances and accolades. Over the years I have heard many stories as we all recounted where we were and what was happening on that day 17 years ago. As I look at the weather and hear about the current hurricane I am remembering loved ones from last year who had family in the path of that storm.
As we start Confirmation and place in our young people’s hands the Lutheran Study Bible, which serves as our “text” book, we are placing in the hands our shared memory, our shared story. The home visits with our students who will Affirm their Baptism includes asking for their Confirmation bible verse. To take a verse or two from our sacred scripture to have it be written on their hearts so that they will remember. As we chat about the chosen verse I am curious about why it is important to them and what they hope to remember.
My mother left me a journal with some of her favorite scripture verses, quotes, notes she had taken from books she had read or retreats she had attended. I will take it out at some point today to let those words speak to me from someone who I remember loved God so much. Here is a quote that shares the power of memory.
God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.
- James M. Barrie
There is the part of memory that can be “rehashing the past”, rehearsing past hurt and pain, or that builds up resentment, fear and disconnection from others. Those are memories that are in need of healing and resolution. One of the beautiful things my mother did in her last year of life- knowing that her lung cancer was not curable- she intentional worked on what was unresolved and in need of healing in her heart. She was blessed to have hospice care that included someone who helped her write an ethical will.
The Taize hymn in the video has the words of Luke 23:42- the words of one of the criminals hung on a cross next to Jesus. And I would like to remind you that after the criminal on the cross next to Jesus spoke these words to Him, Jesus replied: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise”. There are often parts of stories we don't remember or keep in mind.
Today may you be reminded that you are God's beloved child. May you remember we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves- they are also God's beloved children. And may the peace that surpasses our human understanding keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.