St. Thomas Episcopal Church | Medina

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Thoughts and Happenings

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

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Luke 23:42. ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’

When Rachel and I used to visit Scotland over a period of twelve years, we would stay with our daughter Julie and her family.  Her husband, Matt, was the pastor of the local Church of Scotland church and parish.  We frequently were present on Remembrance Day – a Sunday equivalent to our Memorial Day but much more celebrated and somber, given the large number of young men who had given their lives in both world wars.  Other than at Easter, no church service was better attended by local dignitaries, veterans dressed in their uniforms, the troop of local boy scouts, school children and their teachers, as well as regular church members.  What unified them on that day was that most of them had lost a father, a grandfather, an uncle, a son, a brother in the war.  Following the service there was a solemn processional to the graveyard which stood on its traditional site next to the church.  There a large wreath was placed on the memorial obelisk, followed by prayers and two minutes of silence.When Rachel and I used to visit Scotland over a period of twelve years, we would stay with our daughter Julie and her family.  Her husband, Matt, was the pastor of the local Church of Scotland church and parish.  We frequently were present on Remembrance Day – a Sunday equivalent to our Memorial Day but much more celebrated and somber, given the large number of young men who had given their lives in both world wars.  Other than at Easter, no church service was better attended by local dignitaries, veterans dressed in their uniforms, the troop of local boy scouts, school children and their teachers, as well as regular church members.  What unified them on that day was that most of them had lost a father, a grandfather, an uncle, a son, a brother in the war.  Following the service there was a solemn processional to the graveyard which stood on its traditional site next to the church.  There a large wreath was placed on the memorial obelisk, followed by prayers and two minutes of silence.

The most memorable of these occasions for us was when, near the end of the church service, the entire congregation began singing the haunting Taizé song, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.”  As our singing continued softly in the ancient nave, Matt slowly read the names of all those from the local parish whose names were engraved in stone on the church wall – beginning with those who died in the First World War and continuing through the Second.  It was a memory that is engraved on my mind and even now tears come to my eyes as I think of it.

There can be no greater prayer, no more poignant cry of the heart, than these nine words, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Remember me . . . remember us . . . today . . . here and now.  And when our time comes, as we prepare to leave this earthly domain and graduate to our heavenly one, may those words be on our lips and in our hearts and may our minds be also filled with Jesus’ gracious response, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

—Rachel and Jim Clifton

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