News and Views

The word is… remember

Posted by Guest Author on

...well said

Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.


By Rev. Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg

I’m a busy mom of two teenagers, and as I write this, we’re getting ready for another school year. I’ve got an amazing church to serve, and I’m the chairperson of a district committee. I’ve got a lot to remember.

I have calendars and lists and systems, none of which ensure that I will remember all of it. I live in fear of standing up a parishioner for our Chat Over Coffee That’s Really About Her Grief or standing up a child waiting for a ride home from play practice. There’s so much to remember.

This is not a new problem, as God’s people have always had a sort of forgetfulness. The Israelites forgot what it was like to be slaves in Egypt and they began to oppress the poor, the alien and the widow. God sent prophets to remind them who they were and what they had forgotten.

Jesus commanded his followers to pass on his teachings and to “remember” him at the Communion table, in community, as the whole story of God’s faithfulness is again proclaimed and we “take and eat” the bread and “drink from this” cup.

That way to remember is not just “Remember that time Jesus said, ‘Do this’? I think it was a Thursday, right, and he was wearing the blue sandals…” This way to remember actually invokes God’s presence, right then, so that in the sharing of the bread and cup, we can experience the presence, right then, of the risen Christ.

God brings all those past events of God’s faithfulness into the present. We remember, not just with our minds but also with our hearts and even, in community, with our bodies. God even has a way for us to remember the future — as the Eucharist is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet to come.

In the end, I know that my mental abilities will not last forever. Indeed, disease or the ravages of time could take the expensive hunk of knowledge I have crammed into my brain.

But as I’ve seen with people who have battled Alzheimer’s, even then, God will still help me “remember” with my spirit, with my heart, what my brain cannot hold, in the sacraments, in worship, in prayer.  The gathered community of faith will help me remember, will remember for me when I cannot, and the Holy Spirit will pray for me when I cannot.

After all, Jesus said, “Remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

By Rev. Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill

I was out walking my dog Rocky, and there it was. We were in a hurry, trying to get through our morning ritual, and didn’t remember that the change had come. Yet, there it was.

It didn’t ask for permission, it didn’t give notice, it was just there. Forty-five feet long, 100 inches wide, towering at least 10 feet tall, and covered in yellow paint, it drove up with the roar reserved for large engines letting you know they are coming through. It was a school bus.

As we stood there, and Rocky started barking, I was transported back to my first day of school in the fourth grade. The memories of that day were so clear to me.

I was walking up to the school, feeling pretty good about myself. I knew that it was going to be a great school year. I was excited to see all of my friends and get back to work. Most of all, I was excited to see my 3rd grade crush.

As I walked up to the school there she was talking to a friend of hers. They were talking a little louder than they thought, as fourth grade girls tend to do, so I overheard their conversation as I was walking. “Look, there’s Daryl, he got fat.”

Memories are a powerful thing. All these years later, the site of a school bus still takes me back to the fourth grade. I still remember the walk. I still remember the comment. I also, still remember my response.

I could have been crushed. I could have been angry. I could have started a downward spiral of diets and eating disorders, instead I said, “Nice to see you too,” and kept walking.

That day I also remembered that in Sunday School, I had memorized Psalm 139:14, “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.” So, in that moment I remembered that I was made just right by God, no matter what anyone else thought. Even my former crush.

All these years later, when the first day of school rolls around, I remember that day because it was the day I learned the value of remembering Scripture. I remember that day, because it was the day I learned to remember that God made me and he doesn’t make junk in any size. So I invite you today to remember.

Remember, no matter what, you are a child of God. Remember, no matter what, God loves you. Finally remember, no matter what, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.