Remembrance fills our hearts with grief. Keats puts it simply “Where but to think is to be full of sorrow. And leaden-eyed despairs.” We must join in the suffering of those who have lost their loved ones to coronavirus. Yet, we also need to thank God for their life and labour of love as they finished their race on earth. Remembering Jesus in our profound grief gives us reason to hope.
Even as one of the thieves hanging on the cross along with Jesus said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42–43).
Jesus, remember that I am your fallen creation and have led a wayward life. The dying thief dares to call upon Jesus for mercy, and Jesus gave him mercy and consolation, promising he would see the paradise that very day, an unbreakable promise by the crucified God. It’s also a promise from Jesus to you and me.
The insecurities, fear and despair in a fallen kingdom, where death clouds shower despair, where the ruthless struggles of power and injustice dominate and oppress. But, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. The thief recognised who Jesus is and turned to Him in faith. And Jesus, dying himself, answered with generosity. When we travel the path of desolation, do we find sons not turning to Jesus? Instead, we feel let down, our prayers unanswered, or guilty, not done sufficient for loved ones. Or we think that Jesus doesn’t care. Or we might think that many other people suffer more than we do, so we should remain silent. At these times, we need to remember the thief on the cross and how Jesus responded to him.
Remember, for us to live is Christ and die is gain” (Phil:1 22). The departed friends are with Jesus, promoted to glory. Let us give thanks! ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Words of tremendous faith, words by which we dare to live.