The Sacred Art of Remembering

Last week as we brought a close to October, Bishop Bob talked about three important words that can fashion our lives as people who honor life. These words are Respect, Responsibility and Reverence. Now as we begin November, allow me to add a 4th word – Remembering is packed with possibilities. It invites us to be touched by the past with joy and laughter, with sorrow, sometimes with anger and even resentment. It can connect us with others intimately because of shared experiences that have affected our personal lives but also our work. Many my age can recall precisely where they were Nov. 22, 1963 the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. All of us today can do the same for 9/11. The shock and horror of those days are etched into our collective memory.

Remembering is comforting and healing. Looking through family pictures, especially at the death of a loved one, holds that person ever closer. Their humanity is caught in occasions of celebration, of foolishness, of honor and love. How true the statement “Love never dies.” The bond between us is indeed forever.

Remembering is challenging. We say “never again” to the tragedy of concentration camps and war and abuse of women and children trapped and unprotected. Yet today we see the continuation of heartless power used to dominate, destroy and terrify innocent families and their homes. Dangerous memories must be faced less God’s command of love and mercy, peace and justice be thwarted.

Remembering is sacred. When my mother was very ill and seemingly lost in her own world, a kind nurse reminded me that my mother knew my touch. Many of you know the sacredness of a baby’s first cry and the last breath of a loved one. The “I do” to your spouse at your wedding and then again and again and again is wrapped in awe and humility. When a burden is lifted after God’s mercy is offered in confession or by the forgiveness of another, that time is held sacred. Remembering is what we do each time we gather at Eucharist – we remember, we celebrate, we believe.

Throughout this month we invite you to engage in the comforting, healing, challenging, sacred act of Remembering.

Peace to you,

Sheila