Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Inscribed On the Palms of God's Hands

On Tuesday, I had a funeral for a woman who had Alzheimers.  In the past, she had been very visible around church, active and opinionated and doing a lot of things.  But for several years, she had been living in a nursing home and didn't know anyone.  Someone told me, though, that she had a church directory and perked up whenever someone pulled it out and started paging through it.

For some reason, I decided to use a short passage from Isaiah 49 for one of the readings.  Israel is complaining that God has forgotten her.  God replies, "Can a woman forget her nursing child?  ...Even these may forget, but I will never forget you.  You are inscribed on the palms of my hands."

Even if you forget (and we do, even if we do not have Alzheimer's Disease), God will not forget you. 

Even though this woman didn't remember any more, she still had friends who came to visit her, who paged through the church directory with her, who sang hymns to her.  They reminded her of God's promises, promises that she had forgotten.  And they remembered for her, when she could not remember.

So this is part of the Holy Spirit's work in us, and through us:  to remind one another of God's promises, to keep saying and singing and praying:  "You are a child of God. " To keep tracing the sign of the cross on each other's foreheads.  To hold each other's hands, and say, "this is what God's hand feels like."

Remembering is holy work.  But we don't just remember with our minds.  We remember with our eyes and our ears, our hands and our feet. 

Jesus' whole life is God remembering us.  Jesus' whole life, his death, his resurrection is God, inscribing us on the palms of his hands.


Fran said...

What a gorgeous remembrance, really beautiful.

Mary Beth said...

Thanks be to God.