Everyone was asked to donate pieces of fabric that were cut into two-by-two inch squares. We didn't know it, but people gathered in homes and sewed a stole for Mike and a vest for me using all of the tiny pieces. On the inside of each were signatures of church members.
We were presented with our special gifts on Mike's last Sunday. In addition, they gave Sarah a quilt made with Indiana University fabric and Anna one with Duke fabric. Our family felt wrapped in love by the congregation as we relocated to Fishers.
I remembered a phrase - 'When this you see remember me ' - from a book on quilting that was filled with patterns and described how women worked to put a quilt together to send with a friend moving to an undeveloped part of the United States. The group gave the departing woman a tangible symbol of their lives together, knowing they may never see each other again.
I recalled this phrase when I looked at Mike's stole and my vest both of which brought comfort, especially in the first few months after our move. The unique handwork helped my adjustment and locked in fond memories.
When Mike retired in June, 2011, from Fishers United Methodist Church, my Sunday school class made me a quilt from squares each family contributed - another example of thoughtful generosity and something I still use to see and remember all the people, just as the phrase that caught my heart long ago conveyed so well.
Jesus and Remembrance
Luke 22:14-20 describes the Lord's Supper Jesus shared with the disciples before his crucifixion; "He took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, and broke it saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in memory of me. In the same way, he gave them the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is God's new covenant sealed with my blood, which is poured out for you.'"
In these final days, Jesus knew that he would be leaving the disciples, heading for the cross. He wanted to leave something with them as a way of remembrance. Placing the loaf of bread and cup of wine in front of the disciples gathered around the table he could easily have used the words, "When this you see, remember me."
The Last Supper is portrayed in many pieces of art and paintings. I have even seen a loaf of bread and bunch of grapes pictured in a stained glass window. For the Christian, seeing these elements on a church altar or in a piece of art, clearly invokes a remember that Jesus is with us.
When I at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, a crucifix hung in every patient room and along the hallways on each floor - when this you see remember me.
Many of us have items around our homes that remind us of those we love. When we see them our hearts feel comfort, connection and they invoke stories of our time with the giver. We give to others objects whose meaning represents our relationship and shared experiences. When they see it, we hope they remember us.
Reminders of Jesus and God's presence through items like crosses, symbols of communion and baptism, icons and candles help us stay present to the reality that "God is here in this place," or "God is in this hospital," or "God is here with me, which I remember when I wear a cross around my neck."
"When this you see remember me" says so much. For me, I not only think of the person who gave me an item - I also grow more aware of God everywhere and in all people. I deeply treasure my vest, Mike's store, Sarah and Anna's quilts. I can picture people, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ from First United Methodist Church in Vincennes. The Sunday school quilt from Fishers United Methodist Church, is also cherished, given to me by dear friends who are still remembered and loved.
For your Reflection:
1. What objects have you received from family and friends that bring remembrances of thought and love? Describe what they mean to you.
2. Are there religious symbols in church, your home, outside in the woods, in your front yard, along the path of your favorite walk, at your job, that serve as reminders of God" Described these moments of awareness.
3. What have you given others to remember you or an experience you shared?
Prayer: For me, "When this you see remember me" captures all you left behind for us to remember you; bread and wine; a mustard seed, yeast, a coin, a fig tree and other objects that symbolize you and offer teaching about the kingdom. We do remember you with each one as we use these encounters to deepen our faith and trust in you. Amen.