This simple refrain from my childhood has drifted in and out, in repetition, with pressing urgency this Lenten season.
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom…Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom….”
I can still hear it sung by a full choir up in the loft of the spacious church in my hometown where I grew from infant to young woman. Attached to the song sits a vivid memory from my teen years. A memory of a Good Friday filled with somber movements, prayerfulness and stark reality. As I knelt in my pew after veneration of the Cross and bowed my head in prayer, I felt no emotion besides an empty space in my being. My head suddenly lifted, and as it did it, met a most visible witness of the Good Friday commemoration. An older man, a parishioner at my parish for all my years, slowly walked back to his pew from venerating the Cross. As he neared, I saw his bowed head. The anguish and sorrow on his face nearly consumed him as he struggled back to his pew with tears sliding down his face. A pain stabbed into me and the imprint of that moment stamped itself on my heart.
As a grown woman, that moment never ceases to prod a tender space within me. I don’t know that I ever again meditated on Jesus’ passion and death with the same immaturity of my youth. Each Good Friday, the picture comes back into focus as I walk the aisle, now with my own children, hoping to capture the sacredness. There was a lot that man showed me that day as he humbly and unintentionally shared his relationship with Jesus. Seeing with my own eyes another person’s deep faith challenged me to seek the connectivity I may have been missing with Jesus at that time in my life. It’s the same way that Lent tends to be a season of redefining my connection with Christ as I try to reexamine my dependency and need for him. I’m led shame faced to the foot of the cross where He hangs for love of me, remembering him who I ask to remember me.
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom…”
Jesus, draw us closer to you as we walk along this Lenten journey. Let us not lose heart in our Lenten failings, but stay steady on the course and be persistent in prayer and sacrifice. Lead us deeper into the relationship with you that draws us closer to your side. May we be like Simon of Cyrene, when pressed into service we take up the cross even if at first we don’t understand why or how to do so.