I don’t have a very good memory. I forget my glasses when they are actually resting on my forehead. I forget my phone and search frantically for it, only to find that it’s in my pocket. I’ve lost my wallet several times, and don’t get me started about names. It’s very embarrassing when someone greets me by name and I haven’t any idea who it is. I don’t want to ask because it might hurt their feelings, as they seem to know me so well.
Well, having a crummy memory can be a cause of inconvenience and frustration in daily life. It can be even more difficult in our spiritual lives.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus visits the disciples after his resurrection. The disciples are terrified, we’re told. They thought that they were seeing a ghost. Now, these same people have already experienced the empty tomb, and other appearances of the risen Christ. So why are they so frightened this time?
Jesus goes on to patiently explain that a) he told them many times before he died that he would suffer and die and rise after three days; and b) this was all prophesied in the Scriptures. Once they hear all this, the disciples aren’t afraid anymore.
The Easter season reminds us that God never forgets. God doesn’t move away from us. Easter is the fulfillment of God’s promises to humans since creation.
As laughable as this might seem, it’s not too much different for you and me. I can look at many times in my life when I have turned to God and found hope in the midst of pain and suffering, and joy in the midst of great difficulty. But I don’t tend to remember that hope and joy all of the time. There are probably even more times in my life where I’ve forgotten, for lack of a better term, that God is here, alive, waiting for me to turn to him.
The disciples have other reasons to be afraid, of course. Their leader has just been killed, and they might be the next target of the religious and political leaders responsible for Jesus’ death. While they may have encountered the risen Christ, they don’t really understand what it all means. It will take some time to figure out. Some might say that the Christian community is still trying to grasp the resurrection of Christ.
Fortunately for us, God’s memory is quite long. God keeps his promises and his love is not contingent on our shaky memories. We can forget many things, and not just wallets and watches. We can forget to go to church, we can forget to pray, we can forget to love our neighbors and we can forget that God loves us. It can be a terrible way to live — when we wander away from God and can’t remember what it is like to experience the hope and joy that we are promised.
I heard someone say once that if you feel far from God, who moved? The Easter season reminds us that God never forgets. God doesn’t move away from us. Easter is the fulfillment of God’s promises to humans since creation. God has not forgotten to love us.
Bill Peatman writes from Napa. He may be reached at [email protected]