My father-in-law, Bruce, died at the outset of this year. Those of us who loved him wrestled in comparable measure between feelings of relief, that his long suffering with cancer and related conditions had ceased, and feelings of deep sadness, that one really wonderful guy was no longer in our lives. The tension between relief and sadness creates a rollercoaster ride that most would prefer to avoid. But we can’t. This is a part of the price of admission for having meaningful relationships in our lives.
On Sunday, we will pause to remember people like Bruce, who have now found their place among the Cloud of Saints. United with God, our memories of these beloved souls, whether they generate tears of joy or sadness, become the witness that guides our steps as we continue our own baptismal journeys. But grief has a way of keeping us stuck in place, not wanting to move away, lest we forget where we’ve been and the times that we’ve shared with those now gone. How do we move forward?
In his institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus establishes one pathway. “Do this and remember me” is his instruction. (Lk 22:19) The significance of this pathway is reinforced on the cross as the criminal condemned to die asks, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.” (Lk 23:42) We remember because it connects us and draws us forward to somewhere new. The fulfillment of God’s promise is enabled by remembering.
What saint or saints are you missing right now? What was it about them that you loved or appreciated? How did they give you joy or encouragement or frustration or comfort? What do you remember?
Now ask, what do you think they remember about you? Are you living as they would imagine or wish you to be? What might be surprising to them? Where might they be looking to find you?
If you’re stuck today, maybe a little remembering might just do the trick.
May God’s peace find you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray, God of promise, we have been blessed by so many in our lives, including those who have died and now reside with you. Help us to remember and, in so doing, get us unstuck from the pain of the past and pulled into the promise of the future. Amen.