In the first act of Hamlet, the Shakespearian prince encounters his ghost of a father. Before the ghost vanishes, the haunting figure whispers an echo across the ramparts, “Remember me.” Many of us fear being forgotten once we are gone. The realization that nothing we do or leave behind is permanent can give us pause to think about our mortality.
A recent TV show, Who Do You Think You Are, follows celebrities through their search for long lost ancestors. Once the family story teller’s knowledge of the family history is exhausted, historians and well-kept documents are mined for enlightenment. Many searchers find ancestors left in unmarked graves, lost at sea, or left in other unceremonious and unheralded demises. No one has remembered these people for generations until their stories are recovered again in this program.
So what if you do something of merit, historical significance, or a noteworthy achievement, invention, or discovery? Surely your place in the memory of the public is secured. Did you know that more than 50 men signed the Declaration of Independence? Each one was sent as a representative, held prestige in his area, and helped shape the document we hold so dear. Besides John Hancock, you would truly be a history junkie if you could name more than a handful of these men.
So in the end, does it matter that the generations that follow us remember us? If it does, what do you want them to remember? Something we did or a legacy of faith?
But we are faulty human beings. We often don’t even remember where we leave our keys or if we fed the dog (until she flips her bowl across the room to remind us). It is more important that God remembers us than we remember the deeds or faith of others. If we end up in unmarked graves, reduced to dust in 9/11, or lost at sea in a Titanic disaster, God will always remember us. He will gather us in our new spiritual body without blemish or worry.
Rather than putting faith in our earthly heritage, we are commanded by Christ to remember Him for our eternal heritage. In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus tells us, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Jesus’ body was given to death for our sins. But death was not able to keep Jesus. He rose triumphant and we are forgiven. Thus we will be with Jesus in Paradise.
As the thief on the cross next to the crucified Christ requested, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43).
That is the most important “remember me” for any of us.
Dear Lord, thank You for remembering me as You prepare a place for me in Your kingdom. Help me stay mindful of You as I live under Your grace all the days of my life. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
Scripture references are from the ESV
Written by: Terri Bentley, Meridian, ID
Published by: Lutheran Women’s Missionary League 2013