“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
I am deeply moved by these words of the oft-quoted criminal on the cross: his humble yet fervent request that, despite his obvious iniquities, he not be forgotten by the living God in a potent time yet to come.
Remember me. Do not let me be forgotten. Are these not the prayers that rest at the very bottom of all our praying, the secret hope of not being lost that drives so much of our living? … that we would be known, remembered, loved by the One who first made us, by the one who shapes and brings an otherwise impossible future.
It seems that so often we are prone to make that earnest petition of things or people that cannot answer it, that cannot remember us in any lasting way. And so we hang there in proximity to the dying Lord, asking that, despite ourselves and our choices, we might not be forgotten.
And do you know the good news? It turns out to be surprise even to those who ask for it: The Lord of life has chosen to hang there with us in our dying--beside us, for us--and to offer a sequence of simple words that become our eternal life.
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”