Thursday, June 28, 2018

Remember me

(As published in Clarion)

...according to your steadfast love remember me, 
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!—Psalm 25:7b

If you look at Psalm 25:6 & 7 as a small unit you will see that King David first asks the LORD to remember his mercy and love, and then not to remember the sins of his youth, then finally simply to remember him.

Lord, don't remember my sins, but don't forget me. Remember me, the one whom you have drawn into your covenant circle. God is no distant judge; rather, he is our covenant God.

There are many places in scriptures where we are told to remember—we're to remember the Lord, to remember his great deeds of salvation. There was the annual Passover feast, a festival of remembrance of how God had delivered his people from Egypt. The children of Israel were told to set up memorial stones on the bank of the Jordan River. They had their ceremonies—all to help them remember.

Today we have the sacraments to help us remember what God has done for us in Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. One of the weekly tasks of ministers is to remind the congregation of what Jesus has done for his people.

Here we are taught to ask our Lord to remember us. Remember me, Lord!  According to your steadfast covenant love, remember me.

There was someone else who prayed that: the one criminal on the cross. Jesus was crucified between two criminals, and the one hurled abuse upon Jesus. He said, “Aren't you the Messiah? If you are, save yourself and us!” The other criminal told him to be quiet since Jesus had done nothing wrong whereas they were getting the just reward for their crimes. Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Remember me! That's the same as King David prayed—remember me. It's what you can pray: “Jesus, remember me! Don't forget about me!”

Jesus will not. See how he answered the criminal! “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

That's where King David is. That's where the criminal is. That's where you will go when the Lord takes you home. Confess your sins like the criminal did, like King David did, and you may be assured that there is a place awaiting you in paradise.

David prays this for the sake of the LORD's goodness. God is good and has shown his  goodness throughout the ages. When the time had fully come he showed the full resplendent display of his goodness, of his steadfast love, and of his tender mercy by giving us his Son Jesus Christ to be our Saviour.

You can pray these things, dear reader. If you are lost for words, just pray this Psalm. Or sing or read the Psalm as we have it put to verse in the Book of Praise.

When life is a mess, when you are at the end of your wits, ask him to remember you. You, a sinner, someone haunted by the sins of youth, a troubled person, a disabled brother or sister, someone fighting a frightening disease. You, someone experiencing marriage breakup or family meltdown. Recovering from an injury. Lord, remember me—for the sake of your goodness; for the sake of Jesus. Because of what Jesus has done for me. Remember me, O LORD. I know you won't forget me.

Questions: Do you think the criminal was surprised by Jesus' response? Why?
Do think the Lord would ever forget you? Why do you answer the way you do?