Today’s Author: Gary Olson

“I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15c

“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” John 14:18

Two and a half weeks ago after Sunday worship, my wife and I went for brunch at a Perkins Restaurant. While we were waiting to be seated, an aging man began telling Jean about his service as a Marine in Vietnam. I came and sat next to her as the man said, “I didn’t see combat because the war was almost over—but I served my country. Then when our soldiers, who had risked their lives, came home they were jeered and treated badly by those opposed to the war. It was a bad time.” Jean and I commiserated, remembering those difficult years. The ex-Marine’s bagged food came and he left. 

It was less than five minutes when a man older than the first walked over to us and started telling his story as a soldier in the Korean War. His daughters and grandchildren stood nearby as he talked about his service in the U.S. Army. According to the cap he was wearing, he had been wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. “I fought for you,” he said. “Yes, and also for your grandchildren,” I answered. “Yes,” he said, “but also for you, for the life you have.” “Thank you,” I answered. I began to wonder how many people think they are forgotten and what they do in life is unacknowledged.

We all want to be acknowledged for who we are and whatever good we have done for our families and communities. None of us wants to be forgotten.

The writer of Isaiah 49 assures us that God does not forget. This prophet writes at a time when some Israelites were convinced that God had forgotten them. He puts his answer in the mouth of God: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, . . .? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (vs.15). And in words which were important to me during my teenage years, Christ Jesus says to his disciples before he leaves them: “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you” (John 14:18). This is part of the promise of the Holy Spirit, God with us. I remember needing this promise, needing God’s presence and help. Numerous times in life I have clung to that promise: “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” 

You are remembered. God knows you and loves you. This is the promise in Christ.

Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths. (Ps. 25:4, ELW)

Christ be with me: in you I am never alone.
Christ within me: your Spirit is at work in me.
Christ behind me: reassure me when I struggle.
Christ before me: lead me when I am uncertain.
Christ beneath me: support me when I am weak.
Christ above me: encourage me to do my best.
Christ in quiet: I listen for the sound of your voice.
Christ in danger: I will not fear, for you are with me.

In all things, O God, you are our way, our truth, and our life.
Teach me to love you and my neighbors as myself.
I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Based on the Prayer of St. Patrick – From ELCA Prayers and Blessings for Daily Use)

“Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.