November 20, 2012

Jesus, Remember Me

Filed under: Lectionary,Social Gospel — by Lisa Meeder Turnbull @ 9:37 am

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”

Luke 23:42

In the spring of 1997, I made a career move that I did not know at the time would become my first step into the wonderful world of lay vocation. As Director of Alumni and Stakeholder Relations at Yale University Divinity School, I was responsible for communications, media relations, and the well being of the alumni community. It was a heady time, a dream job, and I was good at it.

But years later, living a completely different life than I was building for myself in that time, it is not the big stuff that sticks with me, that made the most impact on my formation, or that fulfills me when I think back on it. It’s the small stuff, the tiny conversations, the moments in the lives of others that I was privileged to be invited into.

One of those moments forever shaped my understanding of how we celebrate the Reign of Christ. It was an ordinary moment, a chance coming together in transition from on event to another in a busy convocation schedule. As I walked along, I fell into conversation with an older gentleman about our differing experiences with the Taizé community and its practice of contemplative worship. He began to share with me a story:

He had had the good fortune to serve at the World Council of Churches in the period when the Council had issued a call for new hymns on the theme of the Kingdom of God. His voice was animated as he described the numerous entries, the bombastic “Thine Is the Glory” mode of many mainline submissions. And then he grew quiet, almost reverent, as he recalled the Taizé community’s submission, the simple and haunting chant, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He spoke as if it were yesterday. His voice was as hushed as that staff room must have been upon hearing this new composition for the first time. He spoke of an overwhelming awareness of humility, approaching the Reign of Christ as flawed humans, asking only to be remembered by the Word made flesh, this king who would conquer without army, who would rule without a throne.

This year, the calendar invites us to reflect in tandem on abundance and blessings in the reading appointed for Thanksgiving Day, followed closely by the coming of the Reign of Christ on this last Sunday before we enter the season of anticipation.

And so I invite you to pause in this moment and ask yourself: How do we strive for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, confident that our heavenly Father will provide all that we need? How does this striving bring us to a place of humble petition, asking only, “Jesus, remember me.”?


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