Remembering reconnects us when we have been disconnected or cut off. Anything can trigger a memory, a remembering: a story, word, sighting, or experience. Psalm 24 shows us that ritual experiences help us reconnect with God. But we cannot always control what memory may arise. It could be something we have forgotten completely, and it may haunt us.
In today’s text, Herod hears rumors of Jesus’ teaching and healing. People speculate about Jesus’ identity, and Herod latches onto the suggestion that Jesus is John the Baptist raised from the dead. This triggers Herod to recall in detail his disposal of John. The deed long-buried comes flooding back. He also remembers his complex relationship with John, whom he both feared and enjoyed listening to. Remembering his choice to behead John must have been difficult. When he remained cut off from the memory of his role in killing John, John’s death seemed all right. Herod’s memory of the man did not haunt him; his guilty conscience haunted him.
What happens when we remember events that cause our conscience to haunt us? Feelings of guilt can bring suffering or keep us from meaningful relationships with God and others. A guilty conscience provides another way of remembering; to suppress it only causes it to become more persistent. It can even reconnect us to others, which may free us from the memories that caused it in the first place.
Guilt often stands in the way of our relationship with God. However, as Christians, we can confess our actions to God. God offers us forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and we can be set free and re-membered with God.
Dear Lord, give me the courage to seek release from guilt so that nothing keeps me from being re-membered with you through Christ. Help me face my struggles and seek you. Amen.
Two readings this week focus on welcoming God’s presence. David does this by bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. As the ark arrives, David dances with all his might, worshiping God with reckless abandon. In Psalm 24, the author poetically calls a city to open its gates and welcome the great king. These passages invite us to consider how willingly we receive God into our lives. The reading from Ephesians speaks of God’s eternal plan. While circumstances may seem chaotic from our perspective, God holds an eternal perspective and has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. Mark tells us the sad story of the execution of John the Baptist, yet another example of a righteous person experiencing persecution.
• Read 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19. How do you bless others in your daily life?
• Read Psalm 24. How do you evidence your willingness to be a steward of God’s creation?
• Read Ephesians 1:3-14. When have you experienced a “hiccup” on your journey and found God ready and willing to assist? How did that help come?
• Read Mark 6:14-29. When have you experienced a guilty conscience? What triggered it?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.