Guest Blog by Rev. Dr. Susan Andrews
Interim Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church, St. Louis
REMEMBERING FOR LIFE
I have always had a hard time remembering. When I think back 35 years, I try to remember what my daughter looked like as a baby, and what Halloween costume my son wore in first grade, and which parishioner gave me the candle that I cherish so much. And more often than not, I just can’t remember. Flitting from moment to moment, in a life too full and too fast, I have not always let the grace sink in.
“This do in remembrance of me.” We have heard the words hundreds of times. Again and again we break the bread. Again and again we dip into the cup. Ritual by rote – relentless, repetitive, remote. But, do we remember? Do we remember the body broken for love and the blood shed for reconciliation? Do we remember the friendship and the betrayal, the suffering and the darkness, the darkness and the death – and the elegance of Life? Do we remember the story – the whole story? And does it make any difference?
In my older years, I am digging into my heart to find memories that have been buried – and the stories of my past are beginning to surface – to nourish and complete my life. The past makes sense of the present – and then propels me into an integrated future.
Those asthmatic nights my father held me as I gasped for breath. Which is why the day I trust in a God who can calm any fear.
The joy and safety I felt year in and year out as I sat in worship – a small child barely able to see over the pew. Which is why weekly worship still feeds my soul.
That traumatic crisis that rocked our family when I was 13. Which is why I still have the need to gain control and keep control when uncertainty threatens my predictable world.
The sad fragility of my brother-in-law fading away – as AIDS suffocated his spirit at the age of 41. Which is why death has become for me both a blessing and a curse.
The countless “coincidences” that have led me to each congregation I have been privileged to serve. Which is why I believe in the providence of a wise and dependable God.
Brothers and Sisters, it is by remembering that we gain perspective. It is by remembering that we redeem the past and understand the present. It is by remembering that we are reminded of the tenacious perseverance of grace in our lives. And it is by remembering that pain and suffering can be healed – and released into the heart of God.
During Holy Week this month, Jesus will once more invite us: “Do this in remembrance of me.” On Maundy Thursday, some of us will share a dying man’s meal and stand at the foot of the cross. On Good Friday, others of us will gather in the dark, and hear the nails shattering the night. But then on Easter morning the music and the flowers and the crowds will abound. And the supper of sadness will be transformed into a feast of joy.
Friends, let us remember it all. Let us relive it all. And let us become it all – for the sake of the world.