Faith Column: Taking time to be re-membered
Whew, what a year?!?! It’s fairly universal to say that, right? The world has had a shared experience of a pandemic that altered life as we know it in some way or another.
Most of us have had to adjust.
Most of us have had to change.
Most of us have suffered loss in one way or another.
Personally and professionally I will remember 2020 as a year of deep loss. Within a month we (Bear River Young Life) lost a young adult who most of the many of the older high schoolers we know cared for and looked up to, we (BRYL) lost our financial director of 16 years and in that I lost a mentor and friend, and shortly later my dad passed away after 16 years of Parkinson’s Disease breaking down his body.
All that to say, it’s a safe bet that many of you reading this have a sense of loss from something in the last year, and each story is accompanied by hurt and mourning. One step forward in my grieving process happened in March and I want to share it with the hope it will help someone.
Quick background: corporately Young Life has two focused days of mission-wide prayer every year; one in October and the other in March.
This March the main message of our day of prayer was centered on loss and mourning. The message and reflection focused on the 22 times in the Psalms when a writer asks God to remember them, but it was presented with a new-to-me understanding of “remember.” We were to focus not on the definition of remembering as the traditional English understanding as a mental aspect of recollection, but from the perspective of “to bring back together into wholeness,” more like re-member.
We were encouraged to recognize areas of loss in the last year as if we had been dis-membered or torn apart. Then we were directed to take time with the Lord to recall those losses and painful experiences, and like the Psalmists, to ask the Lord to re-member us.
Dis-membering or being cut off is one of the first effective tactics of the Enemy. When Adam and Eve were in the garden, he convinced them that God didn’t have their best interest at heart and soon thereafter they were cut off (dismembered) from Paradise. Maybe during this time you’ve felt cut off in your faith or from your community? Maybe you have been cut off from joy or hope. You’ve felt like God was not looking out for you?
I went to the wise sage named Google to see if there were other writings out there with this idea of re-membering.
I found a blog post from Christian writer and Hebrew scholar Sam Williamson that pointed out several Old Testament scriptures that made new sense through the lens of re-membering. He wrote:
- In scripture, remembering is more powerful than mere recalling; remembering always means powerful action and healing wholeness (re-membering!). Here are a few examples of God remembering: Then God remembered Rachel … and opened her womb. (Gen. 30:22). And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her … and in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. (1 Samuel 1:19-20) I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel … and I have remembered my covenant … and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery. (Ex. 6:5-6) And finally, from the instruction from Jesus at the Lord’s supper to, “do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
Thanks to this my new perspective of communion brings a depth beyond recalling Jesus on the cross or an empty tomb, but also as a reuniting with God. Afterall the Biblical narrative is that of redemption and being brought back together in fullness with God.
My encouragement to you, as you look at your new collection of masks or anything else that reminds you of this pandemic, is to take some time to reflect and request for God to re-member you and bring you back together.
David Pressgrove is the Area Director for Bear River Young Life.
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