Minister’s Reflection – Jan. 24/20
By Rev. Dave Crawford
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” – Luke 23:42.
Very near the end of Jesus’ earthly life, as he endured an excruciating death on a Roman cross, two others nearby, also on Roman crosses, cried out to the Christ. One ridiculed this “pretend” Messiah whose death, in his eyes, proved Jesus to have been a fake. He demanded rescue, miraculous removal from his fate, with much sarcasm. The other, gifted with a kind of trust, even in the midst of horrible suffering, simply begged that he be remembered by Jesus in the next life. Luke’s Gospel tells us that Jesus responded compassionately, assuring this man with the words: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Life for all of us can be, at times, chaotic, scattered, and seemingly without direction or purpose. What will become of me, we may ask? What of my life and its impact on the world? Will I be remembered? In short, the answer to that crucified criminal’s faith-filled request of Jesus, and our own perhaps less desperate pleas to God, is Yes! We will be remembered by the One whose loyalty is most important, whose love is most needed, whose grace is most amazing! And we’ll be remembered by the Lord not for tasks achieved, accomplishments listed, awards received, fame or fortune, wealth or accolades or an abundance of friends! We’ll be remembered because the Creator who loves us chooses to remember us, and it has absolutely nothing to do with our own worth or merit. “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me”, go the words of the great old hymn by Charlotte Elliot, and there’s surely a reason why that hymns still touches the hearts of so many Christians. This is gospel. This is God’s great faithfulness. This is grace.
January 20th was labelled this year as “Blue Monday”, a custom first begun in 2005 to name the most depressing day of the year. As with many modern societal customs it seems quite random, arbitrary, but there it is.
If we experience at this time of year blue Mondays, or Tuesdays, or Saturdays, or maybe even in July, or October, perhaps it may be restorative, inspiring, healing to remember that we are remembered! God values our lives, just as they are, adorned with the good, bad, and ugly, marked by personal successes and failures, and all the usual stuff of life.
Contemporary Christian scholar N.T. Wright offers these words to remind us where the gospel is centred, where our faith and peace are found:
“When we learn to read the story of Jesus and see it as the story of the love of God, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves–that insight produces, again and again, a sense of astonished gratitude which is very near the heart of authentic Christian experience.”
Remember, you are now, you will always be, remembered by God!
Thanks be to God!